The Candidate Religious Voters Want in 2012

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The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life this afternoon released a report on presidential preferences for religious groups. The polling was conducted between Sept. 22-Oct. 4, before the Cain roller coaster took off, but it still offers insight into how key Christian voting blocs will play in 2012.

Twenty-one percent of white Evangelicals said they’d like to see Perry win the GOP nomination, while 17% favored Romney and 13% backed Cain. Sixteen percent, meanwhile, said  they were unsure or would prefer none of them to be nominated.

White Catholic Republicans showed a significant preference for Romney, who garnered 29% support with that group; Perry and Cain were the top choices for only 16%. On the whole, white Catholics also expressed significantly more support for Romney than for Obama, by a margin of 57% to 41%.

In a hypothetical general election matchup versus Obama, Romney held a 55-point lead among white evangelicals (75% to 20%), while Perry led Obama by 52 points among this same group (73% to 21%).

White Protestant mainliners preferred Romney over Obama 56% to 40%. This gap narrowed in a Perry-Obama match-up, with the Texas governor edging out the President 51% to 46%.

Most notably, 97% of black Protestants supported Obama—Romney got only 1% of their vote and Perry did not do much better at 2%.

Check out the full report here.