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"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same – Romney Continues to Appear Inevitable

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:00 pm, November 14th 2011     —    Comment on this post »

Romney’s In Trouble Now!

PUH-LEEZE – it’s just getting old.  Alternatives keep rising and falling – kind of like dominoes, and yet Romney keeps leading or near leading in just about every poll.  As Herman Cain sinks into a legal morass that gratefully looks very tame compared to Penn State, Newt Gingrich is on the rise.  And yet Romney is the “most electable.”  Frankly, one could get whiplash trying to read all the polls.  The whole Gingrich thing is a reflection of the fact that while Cain is sinking, Perry is sunk, [Oh and...uh...Rick? - It's a presidential primary, not a schoolyard - having your parents defend you is not helpful.]  So – there has to be someone to be the anti-Mitt.  Doesn’t there?  (Of course, when television can turn anything into a competition. [Cupcake wars!?])

And yet when it comes to press watching, it’s very funny to see them move quickly when some poll tells them their favorite meme still has some life to it.  See Pew came out with new polling data:

42% of all voters indicated that they were “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with the idea of a Mormon President. By way of comparison, 67% say they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with an atheist in the White House, 64% register the same skepticism about a Muslim, and 28% about an Evangelical.

50% of Democrats said they would be uncomfortable with a Mormon in the White House but it is impossible to know if this is mere religious bigotry or if it is the result of the assumption that Mormons tend to be very conservative. This latter interpretation gains probability when you look at the attitudes of Millennials, those voters aged 18-29. A majority of Millennials, 54%, indicate they would be uncomfortable with a Mormon President compared to only 39$ of seniors, those aged 65 and older. Younger voters not only tend to be less conservative and have demonstrated much greater sympathy with efforts to advance gay rights. The Mormon Church took a lead role in the effort to defeat gay marriage in California.

Now that is from the National Catholic Reporter which look at the data in comparisons with other concerns and it is obvious that the concerns about Mormons are not nearly as pronounce as all the headlines would have you believe:

But our friends also point out some unusual methodology:

The most interesting finding, in my eyes, had to do with “hidden concerns.” It has been well demonstrated that voters are reluctant to tell a pollster that they are not going to vote for, say, a black man, but once in the voting booth, a certain percentage of the electorate won’t vote for a black man. Ask Harvey Gantt, the black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, who was tied twice in the polls with Sen. Jesse Helms, in both 1990 and 1996, but lost by eight points. So, the researchers at PRRI devised a “List Experiment” in which a randomly selected group was asked three questions about things that bother them, but not asked to identify which of the three items bothered them, only to list the number of items. One of the items was “A family member marrying a born-again Christian” and another was “A mosque being built near your house.” The other half of the sample was given a fourth item – “A Mormon becoming president of the United States.” By comparing the two groups, they could identify “hidden concerns” about Mormonism. What is curious is that among all voters, as we saw above, 42% openly expressed concern about a Mormon in the White House and the number was unchanged among those expressing a hidden concern via the List Experiment. Similarly, Catholics and White Evangelicals, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, all showed a similar consistency between publicly expressed concerns and hidden concerns. But, one group, White Mainline Protestants, saw a big difference. Only 30% of White Mainline Protestants publicly expressed a concern about a Mormon in the White House but the List Experiment revealed that 57%, almost double, harbored hidden concerns. That number could prove very worrisome to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Now, let’s break this down for what it really says.  One – there is a “generic Mormon” issue, but I would bet that data moves a lot when it’s about Romney – he’s been around too long.  As our friend Mark DeMoss has always said, “It’s not about voting for a Mormon, it’s about voting for this Mormon.”  Not to mention how the data supports a consistent thesis of this blog – primary animus towards Mormons is from the left who view them as the uber-religious.  Which brings me to my second point.  White Mainline Protestants (that’s me btw) are an extraordinarily liberal group (that’s why the mainlines are dying) so I think it is fair to conclude that lefties like to hide their prejudices.  So-called Millenials are, as are most young people also pretty liberal too.  Wish I could say I was shocked.

But what this poll really served to do, was unleash the next wave of…

Gee, “Mitt Romney Is A Mormon” Stories and Other Assorted Mormon Stuff

Did you know Romney served his mission in France?!  (MSNBC reprinted the Reuters piece – with pictures!)  As commentary, it is most worthy of note that the piece closes way below the fold with the fact that Romney recovered from an auto accident while on his mission in which he was declared dead at the scene – a truly amazing story – and devotes its real attention to pointing out that Mormons, shockingly work hard and hold to social principles. In other words, it plays the “weird” meme gently.  And yet while this piece goes out of its way to portray Romney as totally boring, there is a new book coming that won’t be?  It’s coming out of two Boston Globe reporters so I am betting it will be a hit piece.  Look for it to try and take “weird” from a note to a symphony.

While we’re talking Mormon, I must note that Politico has gotten downright snarky.

The Mormon issue is turning really, really ugly in Texas.  Coming from Perry country are we surprised?  Not really, but what is surprising is how utterly banal so much of it is.  Consider the last link of those three:

A man who claims to be a Mormon in China, Steve, contends that the first Mormon principle of faith entails that all Mormons are compelled to store a one year’s supply of food as they await a nuclear Armageddon that they believe will soon occur.

Perhaps, former Gov. Mitt Romney is not a follower of these so-called “guidelines,” but it leads one to wonder why some Mormons insist on storing food for one year. One can wonder if Romney follows these guidelines as well.

[...]

Romney is campaigning on a campaign pledge to reduce government spending and regulations, but would he ask American citizens to store food? Does this conflict with a separation of church and state?

Why is this guy citing a source in China?  Mormons make no bones about this practice.  This gentile has been taken on a tour of the canning facilities in Salt Lake City that they offer to their members for precisely this purpose.  It’s no secret.  (I actually worked with the Deseret cannery in LA years ago on a project to put peach pits to good use, but that is a story for another time.)  And frankly, living in earthquake country, storing food strikes me as a pretty good idea, nuclear war or no.

I guess once you’ve made up your mind to hate something, anything is fuel for the fire.

And Christian outlets keep ringing the cult bell.  Sure, they are trying to sound smart, but come on.  But then some are shooting their own and others are overstating things a bit.

Michael Medved is trying to soft-sell the bigotry, but I am unconvinced (particularly when I read stuff like this), because…

The Real Mormon Nastiness Awaits The General…

…And attempts to turn the Mormon Card in to the race card.  That poll we opened with is being used to make the case that the vote for a Mormon is based on racial considerationsDefenses are being mounted already, but, its gonna get a lot uglier than this.

In Closing…

WaPo manages to make religion and this campaign completely boring.

But, Tony Blair had some interesting things to say.

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