Poll shows Virginia evangelicals overwhelmingly prefer Romney but lack enthusiasm

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Virginia’s evangelical Christians prefer former Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in November’s presidential election, but they show little enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor, according to a Roanoke College poll.

Romney holds a big lead over Obama among evangelicals in the state (55 percent to 29 percent) as does Republican George Allen over Democrat Tim Kaine in a possible match-up in U.S. Senate race (58 percent to 25 percent).

The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 412 Virginia evangelicals and 251 non-evangelical residents between March 26 and April 9.

The poll found that a relatively small percentage of evangelical Romney supporters, 18 percent, are enthusiastic about him. However, non-evangelicals also appear to be lukewarm supporters; 29 percent said they were enthusiastic about the Republican candidate.

Religion plays a prominent role in the thinking of evangelicals, but they are more focused on economic issues than on social issues.

“Evangelical Christians differ from non-Evangelicals regarding the importance of religion in the political arena, but the issues of greatest importance to both groups are economic,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College.

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