MONTGOMERY, Ala — Rick Santorum has won Alabama's presidential primary, with Newt Gingrich running second.
With 51 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Santorum had 35 percent of the votes, Gingrich 30 percent, Mitt Romney 28 percent, and Ron Paul 5 percent.
Santorum couldn't match Gingrich and Romney in campaign spending or organization in Alabama. But exit polling he had strong appeal with white born-again Christians, who made up nearly three-fourths of the Republican primary voters.
The exit polling was based on interviews with 1,589 voters at 30 randomly selected polling places.
Mississippi remains a close race, with Santorum edging slightly ahead. The state is still too close to call.
Evangelicals played a critical role in both states' vote. Roughly 4 in 5 voters who were surveyed in an exit poll called themselves born-again or evangelical in both Alabama and Mississippi.