Romney Looks to Evangelical Voters to Put Him Over Top

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 11:59 AM

By Dan Weil

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Evangelical voters represent a major focus for Mitt Romney’s campaign, which hopes their support can carry him to victory in key swing states, such as Ohio, Virginia and Iowa.

Many evangelicals sat out the 2008 election, so Republicans see a ready pool of possible backers, The Wall Street Journal reports. White evangelicals and born again Christians made up 26 percent of voters in 2008 and 23 percent in 2004, according to exit polls.

More than 80 percent of white evangelicals who are likely to vote favor Romney, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls.

That exceeds the 78 percent support received by President George W. Bush in 2004 and the 74 percent support for 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain.

"There had been questions early in the race about whether a Mormon candidate for president could mobilize the white evangelical vote," GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct The Journal’s survey, told the paper. "Those questions have definitely been answered."

Evangelical voters could be particularly important in Ohio, where as many as 300,000 evangelicals and social values voters sat out the 2008 contest, which Obama won by 260,000 votes in the state.

Ohio has 18 electoral votes, seventh most in the nation. RealClearPolitics rates the Buckeye state a toss-up. The latest major poll, conducted by Suffolk University Oct. 18-21 shows Romney and President Barack Obama tied at 47 percent.

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