Mitt Romney can’t win Evangelical voters.Throughout the primaries Romney wins rich voters, and often wins voters with extremely low incomes. He wins moderates, and in some states–like Arizona– he has won very conservative voters too. Romney is winning Catholic voters in almost every state. And he wins older voters too.
But over and over again on Super Tuesday, Romney lost the Evangelical vote. He lost them 42-24 to Santorum in Tennessee. He similarly lost those voters 52-19 to Gingrich in Georgia.
No one has really explored why this is. Are they implacably hostile to his Mormonism? Evangelical churches usually classify Romney’s Church as a “cult.” Are they simply out of touch with Romney because of his wealth (many Evangelicals fall into that income group between 50-100k that has been troublesome for Romney)? Or do they simply not trust him on social issues, given his long career of flip flops? Or is it some combination of all this?
Evangelicals have been the key voting bloc for both parties, and are an essential part of the Republican coalition. Romney has to win them over eventually.
And maybe he can.
There is one ray of hope for Romney. In Virginia, where he was head-to-head with Ron Paul, Romney won 62 per cent of Evangelicals, consistent with his total vote share. It is a sign that when you get Santorum out of the race, Evangelicals can quell their doubts and pull the lever for Romney.
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