Evangelical Christians, a group that is receiving little attention this election season, could end up providing the votes that send Republican Mitt Romney to victory in Tuesday’s presidential election, says Wall Street Journal
columnist Daniel Henninger.
Political commentators speculated after the Republican primaries that the Mormon Romney’s support among evangelicals would be weak. But polls from NBC, Pew, and ABC indicate that the percentage of evangelicals who support Romney is in the mid-70s.
"We estimate that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn't vote in Ohio," the state that may decide the election, Ralph Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, tells Henninger. "Obama carried the state by 260,000."
If those 350,000 evangelicals show up at the polls this time around, and 75 percent of them vote for Romney, that could win him the state.
And it’s not just Ohio. In the 2008 presidential vote, evangelists accounted for 31 percent of voters in Iowa and 26 percent in Wisconsin – two swing states that also may be pivotal Tuesday.
Evangelicals may be more motivated to vote this year than in 2008. "The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I've seen it in the last 12 years," Mark Smith president of Ohio Christian University, tells Henninger.
The key issue is religious liberty. "We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act," Smith says. He sees it as a direct threat to evangelical groups’ healthcare efforts.
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