Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty came out on top of a survey from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) this month. The NAE recently surveyed its 100-some board members, 45 percent of whom said they would name Pawlenty as the Republican candidate while just 14 percent said the same thing about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Twenty-two percent were undecided.
The survey asked, "Assuming Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate, if you were to choose a preferred Republican presidential candidate for 2012, who would you name?" Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee led the 2007 list when both parties were included. A spokesperson for the NAE said that the survey was an open-ended question where respondents entered a name. The full ranking was not available.
Pawlenty, who attends Wooddale Church led by NAE president Leith Anderson, met with the NAE Board of Directors at in 2008 while he was still governor.
"Pawlenty leads the list of Republican candidates for our evangelical leaders which might be expected since he is so often identified as an evangelical," Anderson said in the statement. "Although, like the rest of the nation, there are still many undecided. With more than a year before the national nominating conventions, a lot can change."
While the press release stated that none of the board members mentioned religion when choosing another candidate, a recent Pew study suggested that evangelicals overall might have a harder time choosing a Mormon candidate.
CT interviewed Pawlenty earlier this year.