Questions about religion—in particular skepticism about Romney's Mormonism—appeared to play a role in the latest results on the GOP side. The survey was completed on the day of the former Massachusetts governor's much-heralded speech in College Station, Texas, addressing his religion, though most respondents probably had not heard it. Still, only a small number of the 540 Republican voters surveyed in Iowa (10 percent) said they wanted to hear more from Romney about that issue, and close to half (46 percent) said at least some Iowa Republican voters will not consider supporting Romney because of his Mormon faith. More than a quarter (27 percent) said they don't consider Mormons to be Christians, and one in six (16 percent) said they are less likely to support Romney because he is a Mormon.
Huckabee's religious credibility, by the same token, appears to be a key factor behind his surge. Huckabee has opened up a huge lead among evangelicals, who are likely to make up about 40 percent of GOP caucus-goers on Jan. 3, the survey found. Among all Republican voters who identify themselves as evangelicals, 47 percent support Huckabee while only 14 percent back Romney. Among nonevangelicals, the two candidates are dead even at 24 percent apiece. Even so, a majority of Republican voters indicated that other issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, health care and Iraq, are more important than religion.
As for the Democrats, Obama is proving that Hillary is less than... 'inevitable.'
Unlike the GOP race, standings in the Democratic campaign have not changed dramatically since the September NEWSWEEK poll in Iowa. However, Barack Obama has gained some ground, moving to within a point of Hillary Clinton among all Democratic voters (29 percent vs. 30 percent), with John Edwards in third place at 21 percent. Among those most likely to attend the caucuses, Obama has moved substantially ahead of Clinton, 35 percent to 29 percent, while Edwards falls back a bit, to 18 percent. Obama also gets more support from those who say they will "probably" attend a Democratic caucus (40 percent vs. 27 percent for Clinton). While the Illinois senator's lead among Democratic caucus-goers in this poll is not large enough to be statistically significant, things seem to be trending his way, Hugick said. "It's evolving into a two-person race, with Edwards hanging on," he said.