Religious Right leaders have been intensely frustrated that their inability to coalesce around a single candidate in the 2008 and 2012 GOP primaries helped John McCain and Mitt Romney, neither of which were evangelical favorites, secure the Republican presidential nomination. Strategists like Tony Perkins and David Lane dearly hoped that things would be different in 2016. As we have previously noted,
Although Perry’s tanking disrupted Lane’s plans to get conservative evangelicals to coalesce around a single candidate in 2012, it seems clear that he has similar intentions for 2016. He told the Houston Chronicle in June , “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that they [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and Romneys left.”
But a survey of 94 evangelical “leaders and insiders” — as identified by World Magazine —suggests that they are not even close to a meeting of minds on a favored presidential candidate. Four candidates had the support of more than 10 leaders – Rubio (18), Bush (14) and Cruz and Walker (13 each) – all below 20 percent of the leaders who responded to World’s survey.