Sunday, July 29, 2012
Does Romney Have A Religion Problem ?
The politically correct idea about presidential elections is that a candidate's religion shouldn't matter. But the truth is that it usually does. It was an issue when John Kennedy ran for president and it has reared its head again now that Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) is running for the office. That's because there is a segment of our population that votes their religion instead of their politics (although they usually bend their politics to fit their religion).
Now that Romney has the GOP nomination locked up, a very respected polling organization, the Pew Research Center, decided to do a survey and find out if Romney's mormonism is going to cause him problems in the upcoming election. They titled their survey results, "Little Voter Discomfort With Romney's Mormon Religion". They went on to point out that about 60% of the population knew he was a Mormon, and out of that number about 19% said they were uncomfortable with his religion -- and pointed out that about the same number (17%) thought Obama was a muslim and were uncomfortable with that.
Sounds like a non-issue, right -- with both candidates being hurt about the same? Well, not quite. I looked at those numbers and concluded that Romney has a far bigger religion problem that the president does. Here's why. The 17% who believe Obama is a muslim are teabaggers (racists and birthers). Obama didn't get their vote in 2008, and nobody expected him to get those votes this year either.
The situation is different for Romney though. The 19% who knew he was a mormon and were uncomfortable with it (about 12% of the total population) are votes that Romney needs if he is to win. They are fundamentalist christian evangelicals -- a critical part of the Republican base. If these voters (many of whom view mormonism as a cult) are so uncomfortable that they vote for a third party evangelical, or just stay home on election day, then it becomes much harder for Romney to win -- maybe impossible.
Romney must hope that these voters finally decide they hate having an African-American president more than they hate having a mormon president (neither of which they really want). There is still a question of whether they will do that. It might not eventually affect the presidential race, but as of right now, Romney does have a religion problem.