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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mitt Romney's margin of victory in Ohio could be evangelical Christians.

By Susan Duclos

A Wall Street Journal article refers to evangelical voters as Mitt Romney's secret voting bloc and notices that evangelical bloc appears to be flying beneath the media's radar. The raw numbers show that evangelicals could very well be the voters that hand Ohio to Mitt Romney:

Back in April, the policy director of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land, predicted that evangelicals in time would coalesce behind Mitt Romney. Yesterday he endorsed Mr. Romney, the first time he has done so for any presidential candidate.

Ralph Reed, the president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, has been spending a lot of time in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the belief that evangelical support for Mr. Romney could be decisive. He notes that when George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004, the Kerry camp thought their dominance of Democratic Cuyahoga County around Cleveland had the state locked up. But Mr. Bush's solid support in evangelical-dominated counties from Cincinnati to the West Virginia border carried Ohio by two percentage points.

Before the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, Mr. Romney was eight points behind the president in Ohio. In the past week, the Cincinnati Enquirer/Ohio News Organization poll had Mr. Romney even with Mr. Obama, and a few days ago the Rasmussen poll put him up by two points.

Mr. Reed notes that in several opinion polls—NBC, Pew and ABC—the percentage of evangelicals claiming to support Mr. Romney has been in the mid-70s. "We estimate that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn't vote in Ohio," Mr. Reed says. "Obama carried the state by 260,000." If that support of 70% or more holds for Mr. Romney in Ohio, and if the share of the evangelical vote increases by a point or two, then the challenger could carry the Buckeye State.

Between Obama alienating evangelicals and multiple lawsuits being filed against the Obama administration over the HHS mandate requiring them to offer coverage that would include contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, and the choice of Paul Ryan on the Romney ticket as VP, support for Romney among evangelicals is in the 70 percent range.

They also note "In the 2008 presidential vote, they were 30% of the vote in Ohio, 31% in Iowa and 26% in Wisconsin."

The president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A. Smith, says, "The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I've seen it in the last 12 years." The driver of that intensity is religious liberty. "We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act," he says. Evangelicals watched the Obama administration's big public fight with Catholic hospitals and charities. What they concluded is that the health-care law was a direct threat to their own private outreach programs.

Mr. Smith says that if evangelicals in Ohio's rural communities repeat their turnout levels from 2000 and 2004, they will offset the Obama advantage in Cuyahoga County. "Six different faith groups are out there" for Romney in Ohio, he says. "That didn't happen the last time."

Mr. Smith and others I spoke to this week cited one more reason for their enthusiasm: Paul Ryan. Steve Scheffler, a longtime GOP activist in Iowa, says it was "the best possible choice" Mr. Romney could make for the ticket. "It galvanized evangelicals."
Three days ago, Andrew Malcolm over at Investors Business Daily reported "Quietly, Catholic bishops draw a stark choice for the faithful between Romney-Obama."

 Via page two and three of Malcolm's piece:

One piece of widely-distributed literature given to church members on recent Sundays carries the photograph of Pope Benedict XVI and the title: "Voting and the Non-Negotiable Moral Principles."
Faithful parishioners are given lengthy excerpts from the Republican and Democrat party platforms and left to choose, using their Catholic values:

"Life. The protection and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The framework within and against which every other issue must be measured."

2012 Democratic Platform:

'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. (p. 18)'

'President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans. (p. 18)'

2012 Republican Platform:

'Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' (p. 13-14)

'We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. (p. 13-14)'

"Marriage & Family. The primacy of the family as the first cell of society. The protection and honor given to the faithful marriage between a man and a woman and the family built upon it."

'2012 Democratic Platform:

'We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. (p. 18)'

'We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (p. 18)'

2012 Republican Platform:

'Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act (p. 10)'
'We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. (p. 10)'

'We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (p.10)'"

The third part of the literature examines: "the first freedom, religious freedom."

It provides lengthy excerpts of the Democrats' platform extolling reproductive rights, gay rights, same-sex marriage and administration efforts to apply these values domestically and in other countries.

And then it provides the Republicans' platform:

'The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration's attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion.

'This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration's audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment—an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC decision. (p. 12)'

'We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. (p. 34)'"

They may not be telling their parishioners who to vote for, but they clearly are showing the contrast between candidates by highlighting the Republican vs the Democratic platforms.

The WSJ piece says the evangelicals are flying under the media's radar but it is just as likely the media refuses to report on them because it would remind the public of Obama's war on religion, the lawsuits, and bring Obamacare back into the spotlight, which caused much anger among the majority of Americans that were opposed to it at the time of it's passage by Democrats, who at the time controlled the House and the Senate and the Democrat in the White House, Barack Obama, who signed it into law.