Look hard enough at any polling sample, and you can find demographics that look a little iffy. This morning Quinnpiac unveiled a new survey of 651 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. In that sample, 36 percent self-identified as born again or Evangelical Christians.
In the “entrance poll” held in 2012, conducted by Edison Research, 57 percent of caucus goers identified themselves as born again or Evangelical Christians.
It’s possible this year will see more non-Evangelical Iowa Republicans participating. It’s possible that born again or Evangelical Christians are less interested this cycle. It’s possible that some Iowans who considered themselves Evangelical Christians in 2012 no longer identify themselves that way. Or maybe some of them moved out of state.
But I would be quite surprised if the percentage of the GOP caucus that identifies by that religious classification dropped that dramatically. And a lot of Republicans, who are used to seeing this demographic as a key base of support, will be surprised too. If turnout among Evangelicals declines as steeply as the Quinnipiac sample suggests, you’ll see a lot of “The Death of the Religious Right” columns and op-eds.