Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Romney and the Evangelical Vote

PPP's recent polling in Nebraska shows the following:


Romney   29
Santorum 28


Santorum 50
Romney   22

I will remind everyone that Santorum is not an evangelical. It's hard to look at the data and see this as anything other than an anti-Mormon vote. 


Anonymous said...

Maybe the Evangelicals in Nebraska are not comfortable with Mitt Romney just yet. Maybe they prefer Santorum at this time.
I think it does our side no good to label people like this when we really dont know. Evangelicals will decide the election in the Fall. I think they will come around to Mitt. But this type of rhetoric does not help things at all. This is counter productive stuff.


Pablo said...


A couple of comments:

1. This is one state. the pattern has been very, very consistent throughout these primaries.

2. Evangelicals will not decide the election in the fall. Lations, moderates, and independents in states like Nevada, Colorado, and Florida will decide the election. The swing states don't tend to have a large swath of evangelical voters and even when they do (Florida) those evangelicals will likely vote for Romney over Obama.

3. I don't think that ignoring a problem is the best way to solve it. I, as an evangelical myself, want to understand why other evangelicals are so hung up on the Mormon thing.

Linda Peterson said...

This is the big elephant in the room that so many refuse to acknowledge and deal with. Of course it is anti-Mormonism, and it will be the death of the GOP if they can't get a handle on it.

David Stewart said...

As a Mormon I can tell you why some may have a problem - SOME preachers are afraid of loosing members as we are a missionary church. So they will tell their members we are a cult and don't believe in Christ etc - all not true. We believe in the bible and one of our 13 articles of faith says "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." - Once you know we are christian - just not evangelical or catholic Christian but Mormon Christians and are good people you will know there is nothing to fear about having a Mormon in the white house - just like their is no problem having one as the senate majority leader (Harry Ried).

Anonymous said...

Polls can suggest any number of things, but they do not constitute proof of anything.

First of all, the poll would have to include the following question: "Do you support Santorum because Romney is Mormon?"

Second, one must assume that some of Santorum's support is because the respondents actually like him, and another part of that support is because they don't like Romney because of his policies or something else unrelated to religion.

There may indeed be some anti-Mormon vote out there, but the question must be asked to drawn any firm conclusions.

Massachusetts Conservative said...


Evangelicals love social issues.

Mitt rarely talks about social issues.

Santorum constantly talks about social issues.

Sure, 5-10% of them might be bigots, but the vast majority just care about social issues way more than they should.

Anonymous said...

MassCon, except for the polls showing how important religion is with these people.

It's more than obvious by now that it's not a mere 5-10%.

But oh well. We won, they'll have to get over it.


Anonymous said...

Anon, keep you head in the sand if you must.


PS, hard to imagine anyone actually likes Rick. Can't swallow that one.

Terrye said...

I disagree. I don't doubt that some evangelicals are not comfortable with Mormons..but, at the same time there is more to Romney than just the fact that he is a Mormon. He is also from Mass..that might have something to do with their feelings too you know.

I like Romney and I support him. But he never pretended to be a social conservative. He never tried to court social conservatives..whereas Santorum has been identified as a strong social conservative..just like Huckabee was and he won their vote..just like Huckabee did.

I think we need to think about the future and the race against conservatives support Republicans by and large..there is no indication that these people intend to refuse to vote for Romney in a general election.

In that case, maybe we should concentrate more on the things that we do have in common and spend less time talking about who is and is not Anti Mormon.

Terrye said...

Martha..just because they say religion is important to them does not mean that they are voting against Romney just because he is a conservatives vote based on issues like gay marriage and abortion and other social issues and all of that is part of their religious belief.

They can vote based on their religion without that vote meaning they hate Mormons.

These people are not the Borg..I actually know a lot of evangelicals. I live in southern Indiana in a rural area..I was raised in Oklahoma and that is where most of my family still lives.

A lot of those people prefer someone like Santorum because they feel he reflects their values. I have very rarely heard any of these people say that they dislike Romney because he is a Mormon and the vast majority of them that I have talked to have said they will support him in a general election.

It is not right for people to make broad statements and judgments about Mormons based on prejudice and misinformation..but you know what? It is not right to do the same thing to evangelicals either. A lot of those people actually support Romney.

Anonymous said...


I've always said it's not all Evangelicals -- of course. But it is a fair amount of them, let's face it. The evidence in 08 was substantial. The evidence this time is undeniable for anyone who pays attention.

And Romney most certainly did portray himself as a social con--because he is one!

I think to pretend bigotry against Mormonism is not playing a role is kind of silly, actually. It is the elephant in the room, although I do think Romney has been smart to not call attention to it.


Terrye said...


How is undeniable? A few loud mouth preachers say stupid stuff and suddenly the vast majority of evangelicals who vote for Santorum only vote that way because Romney is a Mormon?

A majority of people who call themselves "very conservative" do not support Mitt Romney...does that mean they hate Mormons? A majority of poorer people do not support Mitt Romney? Is it the Mormon thing again?

I am not saying that there is not some anti Mormon sentiment out there, but I think there is as much of it on the left as the right and I think there is as much of it among people who are not religious at all as there is among evangelicals.

So, no, it is not silly to wonder if it is really true that more Evangelicals support Santorum just because Romney is a Mormon.

As I said before, those evangelicals and southerners are going to come through for Mitt Romney. They are not going to call him the devil and sit it out.

Terrye said...

And, no Romney did not portray himself as a social conservative, the way Rick Santorum has. Mitt Romney is a good man who has lived an exemplary life..but he was not a strong pro life pol until relatively recently. He is not a supporter of gay marriage, but he did make a point of appealing to gay people for their support back in the 90s and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, in terms of strong social conservative background...Romney never attempted to paint himself as someone like Jim DeMint or Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee.

And that is important to a lot of those evangelicals.

Anonymous said...

Terrye, yes he did in 08. He was totally focused on convincing social conservatives that he is one. And, he is.

Yes, he came late to life, but he's always been solid on traditional marriage. He doesn't hate gays, basically.


Anonymous said...

Terrye, I spent a lot of time in 08 investigating the anti-Mormon problem. It is much larger than you think. There is a strong underbelly of it in the GOP that is not matched on the left. It's not just pastors, it's the congregations who are listening to them every Sunday tell them not to vote for Romney. It's well-documented.

The polls are absolutely showing that religion plays a factor in why people are not voting for him, even when they agree that he is the most electable.

Sure, there's a lot is other culture stuff going on too, but aversion to Mormonism is the primary reason these southern conservatives and Evangelicals have rejected Romney.


Right Wingnut said...

So what?

Terrye said... are assuming that if these people say religion plays a part in their decision to vote for Rick Santorum..then it follows that this is evidence that they can not vote for a Mormon..and yet the vast majority of these people have shown no inclination to refuse to support Romney in the general election.

The point is religion played a large part in their vote for Huckabee against McCain too, but that did not mean they just hated McCain or his means they vote for the candidate that they feel best represents them. The candidate that is most like them.

And right now we have bigger fish to fry as they say and constantly complaining about evangelicals is not going to help get Obama out of office and Romney in..and that is what I care about.

Terrye said...

BTW, my brother and sister in law were among those southern conservatives who voted for Santorum and they are not afraid of or prejudiced Mormons..they are from Oklahoma. I kind of get tired of people treating them like they are bigots, especially considering the fact that both of them are going to support Mitt Romney in the general.

Anonymous said...

My father was born and raised in Elwood, NB. By older brother served his LDS Mission there in the late 70's. I'm disappointed in my father's people.

Anonymous said...

As King Solomon once said, maybe it's a good idea to split this baby.

There is undoubtedly documented prejudice against members of the Mormon faith in American society, both historically and today. There are undoubtedly many people who identify themselves as Evangelical Christians who would never harbor or condone such prejudice. There are clearly some Evangelical pastors/leaders who have publicly said that Mormonism is not--in their theological opinion--an authentic "Christian" faith, and have urged Evangelicals to vote for a "Christian" wherever possible, including for the civil office of the presidency of the United States.

Not being either a Mormon or an Evangelical Christian, I can only regret this unfortunate rift, which (if the comments above are any evidence) is deeply painful to all sides. I believe this rift will heal over time--and is already on the mend to a significant degree. (See "Article VI" blog.) I am also confident that the election of Mitt Romney to the presidency will constitute a major step in the healing process.

That's not why I support Mitt, of course. His religion has nothing to do with it. But my a-religious approach to the presidential election makes me one of the many Catholics who strongly support Romney and who find Santorum's brand of political religiosity off-putting.

Christian said...

As Reaganesque said, hyperbolic rhetoric abt some Evangelicals who are anti-Mormon bigots is counter-productive. Sure it exists, and it's being overcome thru' associating with the LDS. In the suburbs of large metro areas where there are Mormon congregations, Romney does very well.
One personal example, here in my son's California high school Gov't class, a new kid from Alabama said he would never vote for a Mormon. The class got very quiet. My son raised his hand and pointed out that there were four Mormons in the class. In Alabama, 15% of the class is not Mormon, heck not even one of them is a Mormon. It makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Reagan had no problem with Mormons. Evangelicals shoudn't have any problems with them either.

Anonymous said...

I see that I've come late to the party. I don't know if anyone will even see this, but I will move forward with hope!

I have also seen (and felt) the ugliness of knowing that many people that I have hitherto thought of as "friends" have different feelings than I have. However, I have come to believe, as John Schroeder does on Article 6 blog, that only a small number of people are truly bigoted against Mormons.

After many years of theological conditioning, many evangelicals are, for lack of a better word, "suspicious" of Mormons. This creates a lack of trust and is almost more difficult to overcome than bigotry, but it is certainly not the same. Many of these are fine people--some of the best our nation has; they have been conditioned to think of Mormons with distrust, and that is not easily overcome or waved away.

Another factor that I believe we will begin seeing is the following. There are a certain number of evangelicals who have been genuinely concerned to try to do the right thing. They do not feel that it is right for them to vote for a Mormon in the primaries because of the theological differences between Mormons and their own. However, if their vote in the primaries is overridden (as it has been), they will vote for one in the general against President Obama. I say "welcome to everyone who will join us" to vote against our "I-will-be-more-flexible-on-missile-defense-after-the-election" President.


I also believe that Terrye is correct in stating that there are other factors voters have in not relating to Mitt, such as his being from the Northeast. Just my 2 cents.