Survey: Faith factor bigger in primaries
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is likely to be a factor in the primary elections, but not the general election, says a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.
White evangelical Protestants - a key component of the Republican base - are more inclined than the general public to view Mormonism as a non-Christian faith, and support candidates who are from mainstream Christian faiths, says the center’s “Religion and the 2012 Election,” which tallied responses from 2,001 adults Nov. 9-14.
Thus, white evangelical Protestants’ strongest support goes to Georgia businessman Herman Cain, a Baptist (26 percent), followed by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Catholic (19 percent), Mr. Romney (17 percent) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian (12 percent).
This echoes a comment Mr. Cain made to The Washington Times editorial board in July, that “Romney would be a good choice, but I don’t believe he can win” because of his religion. “I know the South, and you have to win the South,” Mr. Cain said.
However, the Pew survey finds that when Republicans of all faiths are asked whom they prefer, Mr. Romney edges Mr. Cain, 23 percent to 22 percent.
And when Republicans are asked whether they would vote for Mr. Romney or President Obama in a November matchup, they overwhelmingly go for Mr. Romney - including 91 percent of white evangelical Protestants.
Romney, Huntsman last holdouts on pledge
Herman Cain signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s pro-life pledge Tuesday, leaving Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. as the last major GOP presidential hopefuls to refuse to support the pledge against abortion.
“This decision is consistent with the Herman Cain we have come to know,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “He understands the wound abortion is to America and especially to the most vulnerable among us - people that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger labeled ‘human weeds.’ “
The announcement comes as Mr. Cain is losing ground in national polls, thanks in part to old allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior that led to financial-separation agreements with two women who worked under him while he served as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Republicans also say that he has struggled to translate his grass-roots appeal into strong ground operations in the early primary states.
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