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Romney gets Mormon vote in Nevada caucuses

Mitt Romney
Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters and media from a pick-up truck bed outside of a polling station on Nevada caucus day in Las Vegas, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008. LM Otero / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Mormons almost unanimously supported Mitt Romney in his easy victory Saturday in Nevada's Republican presidential caucuses, a preliminary survey found.

Mormons comprised a quarter of those attending Nevada's GOP caucuses, and more than nine in 10 were voting for Romney, according to early results from the survey conducted for The Associated Press and television networks. Romney is a Mormon, and his religion has been cited as a problem by some Republican voters.

A narrow majority of those identifying themselves as Republicans _ the bulk of the voters _ backed Romney. Two-thirds of independents favored Ron Paul but they made up only about 10 percent of GOP caucusgoers. Romney and Paul were the only Republican candidates to campaign much in Nevada.

Given four choices, more Nevada Republicans called the economy and illegal immigration the top problems facing the country. The war in Iraq and terrorism lagged in importance. Romney led among voters in all four groups; John McCain came closest among those who said terrorism was most important.

Other pockets of outsized strength for Romney included voters with more than $100,000 family income, older voters and those who placed a priority on a candidate's experience.

Romney also led across the ideological spectrum, which in the Nevada Republican caucuses ranged almost exclusively from moderate to very conservative. Romney did better among more conservative voters, while McCain and Paul each got about one in five moderates, who made up about 20 percent of the electorate.

The results were from a poll conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International as voters entered 20 GOP caucus sites in Nevada. The preliminary results were from interviews with 573 voters, and had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 6 percentage points.