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McCain Surges in Polls, But Many Evangelicals Wary

Observers say the candidate's policy stances and lack of "faith talk" has led some to look elsewhere, but Super Tuesday may change that.

As his poll numbers continue to climb dramatically with Republicans, John McCain has been extending an olive branch to evangelicals in the party. But evidence is mixed over whether he can win their support.

In the first six Republican matchups, the Arizona senator has had not seen the major successes among evangelical voters that have boosted rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

Among Republicans who identified themselves as evangelical or born again, Huckabee won Iowa with 46 percent over Romney (19%) and McCain (10%). The New Hampshire evangelical vote was split between Huckabee (28%), McCain (28%), and Romney (27%). In Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina, McCain fell behind Huckabee, and in Nevada even Ron Paul gathered more votes (13%) than McCain (9%) did. But despite his strong overall showing in Florida, McCain (30%) barely overtook Huckabee (29%) and Romney (29%) among evangelicals.

A September 2007 Pew Forum survey showed that 36 percent of evangelicals are reluctant to vote for ...

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