Team Blog

Romney plays the God card

Preaching to the masses: Republican candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire, last week. EPA/CJ Gunther

Mitt Rommey has found a new point of attack on the Democrats. It’s not jobs, but God.

In his last few stump speeches, Romney has hammered home a simple message. God will be welcome in his White House. In Ohio on Monday, Romney pledged that, as President, “I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square and I will not take it out of the platform of my party.”

He has followed this up with further promises to not take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance (“One Nation under God”), or off the nation’s coins (“In God we Trust”).

Mitt Romney addresses voters in Ohio.

Not that anyone was proposing to do this. But the Democrats got in a tangle over God at their convention. An initial version of the party platform made no reference to God. This was soon rectified, apparently at the insistence of President Obama, and then approved.

Still, it’s interesting that Romney feels confident enough to place religion at the center of the campaign. Throughout the Republican primaries, religion was used against him. Was a Mormon a Christian? Many evangelicals weren’t convinced. And, it seems, many still aren’t. A July Pew Forum poll found that 23% of white evangelical voters are uncomfortable with Romney’s Mormonism.

No less than 63% think that Mormonism is very different to their own faith.

But the good news for Romney is that these doubts are not driving evangelicals to abandon the Republican candidate. 68% of Republican voters declare themselves comfortable with Romney’s faith.

The ways in which religion might work for the Republicans will have to wait for another blog. But here’s one more interesting result from the poll: no less than 17% of all voters believe Obama is a Muslim. And this has actually increased over the last four years! Nutty Tea-Partiers, you think? Well, 10% of conservative Democrats think the same. It seems that many Americans aren’t quite sure if either candidate is a Christian or not.

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