The Romney Perplex

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McCain-Romney.jpgI’m still catching up from last week, and in the process this piece by the Washington Times‘ Ralph Z. Hallow caught my eye. The questions it raises have to do with the extent of evangelical antipathy to Mitt Romney, and the degree to which it is based on anti-Mormonism or concerns about Romney’s less than consistent record on abortion and gay rights. The answer may be that the alternatives are mutually reinforcing: Conservative evangelicals don’t trust Romney because 1) they don’t trust Mormons and 2) they think he’s a flipflopper. The latest poop on the GOP Veepstakes (from Politico’s Jonathan Martin) pairs Romney with MN Gov. Pawlenty as McCain’s two “conventional” choices. (The alternative is to do something wacky like picking Joe Lieberman.) My sense is that, in the end, McCain will go conventional and steer clear of Romney. The evangelical base really matters a lot, and it really doesn’t like Romney. Making him McCain’s running mate and Republican presidential heir apparent will seem like the GOP white shoe establishment doubling down against religious conservatives.
Update: On the other hand, Friday’s Zogby poll of likely voters by religion reports that whereas 46 percent of white evangelicals say that a Huckabee veep nod would make them more likely to vote for McCain (as opposed to 4 percent less likely), 34 percent say they would be more likely to vote for him if he choose Romney (as opposed to 10 percent who would be less likely. Not much of a differential, all things considered. If Lieberman were the guy, however, only 20 percent of white evangelicals would be more likely to vote for McCain, and 23 percent would be less likely. Fuggetaboutit, Joe.

  • Cindy

    In my circles the antipathy towards Romney is extremely, extremely great, just through the roof, though it has near nothing to do with his Mormonism, but with his character and policies. I have to laugh at how out-of-touch Team McCain is with the *general* populace to be considering Romney for reasons of the economy when his image reminds them of everything they are bitter about.
    I’m curious to know how Catholics would feel about Pawlenty — I haven’t heard.

  • Mark Silk

    To answer your last question, the Zogby poll noted above says that 7 percent of white Catholics and 13 percent of nonwhite Catholics would be more likely to vote for McCain if Pawlenty were the veep candidate, and that 10 percent and 11 percent respectively would be less likely. So there’s a bit of resentment of Pawlenty for leaving the Roman fold. But mainly, Catholics don’t know anything about Pawlenty, as evidenced by the fact that three-quarters of them say his choice would make no difference.