A new poll found that 43% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. The poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times, also found that 53% of Evangelicals were against voting for a Mormon. This has not deterred Mit Romney. By all accounts, he is still planning on announcing his candidacy early next year.
Not all Evangelicals oppose Romney out of hand. Jerry Falwell, who recently met with Romney, had this to say: “We’re not trying to find a Sunday school teacher in chief; we’re trying to find a commander in chief. Where he goes to church will not be a factor; how he lives his life will be.”
Many Evangelicals are concerned because they perceive Mormonism as anything but Christian. This will be damaging to Romney’s campaign since Evangelicals and other conservative Christian voters are very effective at “get out the vote” campaigns.
Frankly, I would like to see Romney take the presidency. I think it would clear up a lot of misperceptions people have about Mormons. However, I’m afraid that if a Republican candidate, like Romney, cannot rally a base among Evangelical voters, his presidency does not stand much of a chance.
There is a great irony in all of this: if Utah is any indication, Mormons have inexorably supported President Bush, including the radically conservative political ideas of his Evangelical constituency. (There is a second irony that I have to point out: Evangelicals oppose Mormon candidates because we are members of a perceived cult, yet no one seems to mind the Bush family’s participation in Skull and Bones. This is doubly ironic for Mormons who are so concerned over “secret combinations.”)
Shouldn’t Mormons feel a little offended that after all of their loyalty to the GOP, more than half of Evangelicals are unwilling to return the favor? Let’s end this one sided relationship right now while we can still save face.