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Primary Results 2012: Alabama, Mississippi & Hawaii's Winners & Losers

Posted: 03/13/2012 10:51 pm

The four remaining Republican presidential candidates competed in nominating contests in Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii on Tuesday, with 101 delegates up for grabs.

Both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries proved to be the night's most interesting. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were in a virtual dead heat leading up to Tuesday, with Ron Paul trailing his rivals. For Romney, the primaries were a chance to prove he could appeal to southern voters. For Gingrich and Santorum, Tuesday was another round in their ongoing battle to be the contest's most conservative candidate.

Although the Hawaii caucus was almost entirely overshadowed by the primaries in the South, there was at least one candidate who had high hopes for the Aloha State's 17 delegates. Paul, the only remaining candidate who had yet to claim a win, hoped to put an end to his long string of losses with a victory in the Pacific.

Here's a look at the night's biggest winners and losers.

WINNER: Evangelical Christians
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Social issues have been a mainstay of the Republican presidential primary campaign thus far, but they played a key role in Mississippi and Alabama, where evangelical Christians were a dominant force.

According to exit polls, about 80 percent of voters in Mississippi's primary were white born-again or evangelical Christians. Almost 75 percent of voters in Alabama identified similarly. Polls also showed that strong moral character was a highly important factor for these voters. The data showed that the group favored Santorum in Alabama and Romney in Mississippi.

Unsurprisingly, conservatives were also a key group in the Deep South, making up about 70 percent of primary voters. Four in 10 voters in the two states labeled themselves as "very" conservative.
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Filed by Mollie Reilly  |