Tea party, religious voters backing Santorum

January 3, 2012 - 10:16 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — An entrance poll of Republicans attending Iowa's presidential caucuses shows former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum leading among tea party supporters and born-again or evangelical voters.

Those voters are key in Iowa, where each makes up around 6 in 10 Republicans attending Tuesday's caucuses.

Nearly one-third say they want a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama in this fall's elections. Nearly half of them are backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul has a big lead among people under 30 years old.

The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters arrived at 40 randomly selected caucus sites in Iowa. The survey involved interviews with 1,551 caucus-goers and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points