Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Question for the Audience

Ace commenter Rich made an interesting observation yesterday:

[T]wo of the 'guesses' I think you missed in your analysis of last night's results are, a few weeks ago, Evangelical leaders met in Texas to settle on one candidate to back. They chose Santorum. I am gussing that last night, we saw some of the first results of that decision. Additionally, I would speculate that there is a Mormon bias at play. No one likes to admit this, but I am guessing that there is a Bradley-Effect corollary at play here. I am sure it weighs, at least partly on some folks decisions.
Since I'm not an evangelical and I ended up voting for Ron Paul for fiscal reasons, neither of these considerations entered into my mind. And while I would imagine there's a certain amount of anti-Mormon bias out there, I strongly suspect it is overstated, as is the notion that "Evangelical leaders" have that much control over how people vote, especially in Minnesota. My guess is that for many voters, Santorum was the best available "Not Romney" on offer, since Paul's views are a nonstarter for a lot of people.

So here's the question -- is Rich on to something, or not? And if you voted for Santorum in the caucus straw poll, what was your primary motivation for doing so? Okay, that's really two questions.


Anonymous said...

What a sneaky way for Rich to bring up the mormon issue without making to seem like it is him doing it.

Mr. D said...

I dunno, anon -- I'm not going to question Rich's motives on this. I think the Mormon issue is overstated, but it might have an impact in some places. I just don't happen to think Minnesota is one of those places.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

On a Lutheran pastors message board I noticed some anti-Mormonism, but I'm pretty sure it was from liberals, at least in this instance. But I bet there are at least some conservatives who wouldn't vote for a Mormon.

But my suspicion is that, come the general election, very few would fail to pull the lever for Mitt over his religion. This has everything to do his opponent. Obama's religion isn't of great interest to me, but Liberation Theology is tenuously Christian at best, invoking Jesus to give radical politics legitimacy. Romney's is troubling from a theological point of view, but at least its ethics line up well with Evangelicals.

Brian said...

I can't speak to Minnesota, and I wouldn't presume to ascribe motivations to other people's actions, but I can tell you this: I grew up evangelical (Southern Baptist in Georgia, specifically) and I think that the antipathy towards Mormonism in that community is really, really
underestimated. And it has very little to do with what a bunch of self-appointed "evangelical leaders" have to say about it. It has everything to do with what Baptists (etc.) say among themselves, among their neighbors, friends, and Sunday School classes.

In that community, Mormonism is a cult and a perversion of Christianity, full stop.

This is what I mean when I point out that Romney still hasn't won in the south. So yeah, I think Rich is onto something.

Honestly, I don't even like Romney and I'd rather be wrong about this. We'll see by Super Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think Santorum's win has everything to do with the fact that Romney did so much to destroy Newt, and Newt did so much to destroy Romney, that "a pox on both their houses" took over. Now that Santorum is a real option, however, I've given him a second look and he has a pretty bold and innovative platform, which I think is what is needed in November.

If there is a religious bias at work, I would think it would go against the Catholics-- Gingrich and Santorum-- not the Mormon. As a friend told me "there aren't enough Mormons to substantively affect policy, but there ARE enough Catholics."

J. Ewing