Newt Gingrich has three times Mitt Romney's evangelical support in Iowa. But how can a man who has been married three times, cheated on his first two wives, and changed religions twice be beating one who has been married once and has always been a Mormon? Experts offer a range of answers to NPR. It may be about forgiveness; it's "the centerpiece of our faith," says an evangelical leader. "They're probably willing to forgive the baggage of the past if they really believe he's the best one prepared to lead."
But an analyst thinks many evangelicals may simply not know about Gingrich's personal history and may change their minds when they find out about it. After all, the analyst finds, two-thirds of white evangelicals think a candidate should resign if he commits adultery. Meanwhile, the head of a Southern Baptist group says men are OK with Gingrich's marriage troubles, but women want a stronger apology. "They're willing to forgive him, but they want him to ask for it, and they want to hear more regret."