2008 Mitt’s Mormon Problem
posted by February 15 at 13:13 PMon
So Romney endorsed McCain yesterday, which gives me a fresh Mitt Romney newspeg to hang this post on: Last Friday the Wall Street Journal ran a postmortem on Romney’s campaign. Their conclusion? A lot of Americans—half of all Americans—wouldn’t be comfortable voting for a Mormon.
Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Mormon Church than it has had in years. What the church discovered was not heartening…. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late January revealed that 50% of Americans said they would have reservations or be “very uncomfortable” about a Mormon as president….
The Mormon religion “was the silent factor in a lot of the decision making by evangelicals and others,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the poll. The Romney campaign ran into “a religious bias head wind,” Mr. Hart and his Republican polling partner, Bill McInurff, wrote late last month.
I’d like to see a state-by-state breakdown of those poll results. Because I’d like to know exactly where all those religiously intolerant voters are. All I know now is where they’re not: They’re not in true-blue, largely-secular, Ted-Kennedy-electing, gay-and-lesbian-marrying, left-leaning Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney won the governorship by 5 percentage points in 2002. Liberal voters, it seems, weren’t “very uncomfortable” about voting for a Mormon chief executive—well, at least they weren’t uncomfortable about supporting the 2002 version of Mitt Romney, i.e. the pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, fiscally-conservative, socially-liberal Mitt Romney. I’m thinking that if the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll were broken down by state, we’d find that those states with higher percentages of “values voters,” i.e. conservative Christian voters, would be much less likely to vote for a Mormon governor or president than the voters in liberal, secular Massachusetts.
So, Joel, please explain to us again how it’s “the secular left [has] to be more tolerant.” It seems to me, as I’ve already pointed out, that the secular left is a model of religious tolerance. Hey, we voted for Romney 2002 despite his Mormonism. Religious voters, however, couldn’t support Romney 2008 on account of his Mormonism.
Romney’s political success when he faced liberal voters Massachusetts, and his political failure when he faced conservative and religious voters in GOP primaries, makes it pretty clear that if anyone needs to learn to be more tolerant, Joel, it’s the religious right, not the secular left.