Here is a breakdown of what groups/categories each of the top three candidates won.
voters age 30 through 64
voters who attended college
earn $50 to $100k
tea party supporters
over 65 voters
no college education
voters with post grad study
over $100k voters
oppose the tea party
have reservations about my candidate
17-29 age group
Santorum won evangelicals with about 33 percent. Paul was second with 18 and Romney & Gingrich each got 14. You can see that it’s definitely not a monolithic voting bloc. Santorum has the potential of pulling in a bigger percentage of that vote in future primaries.
Looking at the categories above, Santorum shows greater strength in the mainline of the Republican Party. Romney was the candidate of well-off, over 65 suburban Republicans. His voters were anti-tea party and “not evangelical” and “have reservations about my candidate.” Even though Romney technically won the caucus vote, it’s clear that he could not have won without an overwhelming advantage in money and organization.
Look at Santorum’s appeal. He was first choice among Republicans (independents were allowed to vote in the caucuses), conservatives, women (a big surprise), a broad age group of 30-64, middle income earners, tea party supporters, attended college, and evangelicals. This is a much broader appeal than either Romney or Paul. The media and Democrats (and Romney) will portray Santorum’s support as very narrow and ideologically driven. Not true in Iowa.