It’s Official: White Evangelical Support for Romney Not Dampened by Mormon Factor

The Pew Forum, which tracked religion-affiliated data assiduously during the 2012 campaign season, released late last week its findings on the impact of faith on voters.

Of special interest to the Pew was the voting behavior of white evangelical Christians, a group with a substantial history of antipathy towards Mormonism. But white evangelicals supported Romney as strongly as they supported George W. Bush—both candidates received 79% of the white evangelical vote. (Romney received more support among white evangelicals than John McCain in 2008.)

About 60% of white evangelicals said they “strongly favored” Romney, and about 30% said they had “some reservations”—proportions just about equivalent to those reported for Romney voters overall. In the voting booth, partisanship trumped sectarianism. As we knew it would.

But according to the Pew enthusiasm for Romney overall lagged behind the enthusiasm of Obama voters, seventy percent of whom said they “strongly favored” the president.

Perhaps Romney’s team is to be credited for its careful management (that is, avoidance) of faith in the campaign, because the data suggests that faith was not a deterrent. Question is, if we can’t pin it on religion, what exactly was it that kept enthusiasm for Romney lagging behind enthusiasm for his opponent?

Full data is here.

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Joanna Brooks is the author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith (Free Press / Simon & Schuster, 2012) and a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches.