Scott: They are Christian. They are conservative. And they are powerful. They are evangelicals. And they make up about 14% of the nation. But in Iowa, evangelicals make up about a third of people who say they are going to vote in the Iowa caucus in January, meaning they have a big say in who will represent Republicans in the presidential election. That is because Iowa is the first state to hold a vote in the primary elections.
Think of the primary elections as rounds in a tournament where candidates face-off in order to win the final spot. Only one can become the Republican nominee who will then face-off against President Obama in November’s presidential election.
Most states hold a presidential primary in the late winter or spring, where voters weigh in on their favorite contender. Then the top candidate wins the nomination. And Iowa is first up.
In elections past, the Iowa caucus has been a make-it-or-break-it moment for presidential candidates. Since 1972, the president who won the general election had also landed in the top three after the Iowa caucuses.
Back in the 2008 election, evangelicals were most concerned about social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. But this time around, while values still get their vote, the economy is at the top of their list.
“Anybody that I support on the social issues is going to be good on the economy too.”
Scott: If you look overall at who evangelicals support, it is Newt Gingrich with 34%. But if you ask them who they think shares their values, Gingrich drops to just 8%.
And Michele Bachman comes out on top, followed by Ron Paul.
“I know what I want in a candidate, and that’s what he is.”
Scott: Mitt Romney doesn’t do so well. And some evangelicals say if he won the Republican nomination, they just wouldn’t vote.
The Iowa caucus will be held on January 3rd, and it will give candidates a first look at how people are voting and what they are voting for.