Religion and 2012 GOP preferences

From a recent Pew survey:

Huckabee and Romney tied for first place among all likely Republican voters at about 20% each. But there’s a disparity between the two based on religious affiliation. Evangelicals and Catholics prefer Huckabee, but Mainline Protestants and “Other/None” prefer Romney.

In a similar vein, the poll also reveals that, regardless of denominational affiliation, those who are frequent church attenders (and therefore presumably more religious) prefer Huckabee while those who attend church infrequently or never prefer Romney.

The obvious explanation for these results is that Evangelicals are traditionally wary of Mormons and Mormon politicians, including Romney. Also, the perception is that Huckabee is more socially conservative than Romney, (although I personally think the differences are slim on that count) which may explain Romney’s support among Mainliners, unaffiliated, and less religious individuals. The irony is that, in their personal lives, I would describe Romney and Huckabee as both being equally strongly devoted to their particular Christian faiths. Apparently, Mainliners and less religious individuals don’t mind supporting a religious candidate… they simply appear less likely to support an Evangelical religious candidate. (Alternatively, perhaps they view Romney as a viable candidate, while still the lesser of two undesirable choices!)

I do not have an immediate explanation as to why Catholics would support Huckabee over Romney at such levels, though. Any ideas?

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