In a post here on Monday, I noted the surprising number of religious conservatives I was running into at Ron Paul’s events in Iowa. It doesn’t immediately make sense that they would be drawn to a libertarian who espouses drug legalization and who doesn’t think the government has any business getting involved in marriage.
It turns out that I was right; Washington Post polling director Jon Cohen tells me that polling on caucus night indicates that Paul got the votes of 18 percent of caucusgoers who identified themselves as evangelical — up from only 10 percent four years ago.
He still didn’t do as well as he did with non-evangelicals, where his share went from 11 percent to 26 percent. But the gain is nonetheless remarkable given that there were four other candidates — Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry--who were tailoring their appeals specifically to religious conservatives.
Paul did better with evangelical voters than any other candidate except Santorum, who won 36 percent of their support. Romney, Gingrich and Perry each won 14 percent, and Bachmann, who preached at at least a couple of events, got only 6 percent.