WASHINGTON (AP) — Preliminary exit poll results in Alabama show Rick Santorum leading his two chief rivals for the Republican presidential nomination among the huge bloc of voters saying they wanted a candidate who shared their religious beliefs. That same group of voters is more evenly divided in Mississippi among the top three contenders.
Voters motivated by religion comprised around three-fourths of both states' voters.
Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are running about evenly among a similarly huge group of voters in Alabama — white born-again and evangelical Christians. Santorum has a slender lead with those voters in Mississippi.
Santorum and Gingrich are ahead among the most conservative voters in Alabama, while Santorum leads slightly with that group in Mississippi.
Romney is doing well with more moderate voters in both states.