Eyes on Iowa Evangelicals as Caucus Draws Near

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With the Iowa caucus being held Jan. 3, the attention is now shifting to the crucial evangelical vote.

Evangelical Christians made up about 60 percent of Republican voters in Iowa in 2008. The question is, which candidate will they throw their support behind this time around?

All the Republican presidential candidates will spend New Year's weekend trying to gain more supporters to win the Hawkeye State, the first state to vote in the presidential election season.

Christian voters have several choices, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

"Our campaign organization is very strong," Bachmann noted.

A recent poll showed former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., surging near the top of the pack of GOP hopefuls, running third behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. He is now ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"How does it feel to be No. 3?" one reporter asked Santorum.

"Just working our way up the ladder!" he replied.

Santorum said a vote for him sends a distinct message.

"There is a very stark contrast with Gov. Romney and me on the issue of health care, and the issue of cap and trade and global warming and moral and culture issues, and Ron Paul and national security," he explained.

Meanwhile, Romney is all smiles, as he continues to remain the frontrunner. A split evangelical vote could push him to victory in Iowa.

Romney's trying to close the deal in Iowa by arguing he's the best candidate to defeat President Obama.

Santorum countered by saying the 2012 presidential election is too important to settle for just winning.

"This is an election where I believe the future of America hangs in the balance of what kind of country we are going to be," the former senator said.

"Are we going to be a country that believes in our founders' vision of free markets, free people, limited government, strong family, strong communities, an America being built as a great country from the bottom up? Or do we believe now that we have reached a point where that is no longer possible?" Santorum asked.  

*Original broadcast December 30, 2011.

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CBN News
Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.