The Common Good

Santorum Is Not Romney's Only Problem in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mitt Romney’s position on the Detroit auto bailout and health care plan have been blasted, but a pollster suggests one issue not often discussed on the campaign trail this year could end up costing him Tuesday's Michigan primary victory: his Mormon faith.

EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn said the former Massachusetts governor’s faith hasn’t been as big of a topic as it was when he sought the nomination in 2008.

But Porn said on WGVU’s “West Michigan Week” that his polls show that 7 percent of the Republicans tallied said they wouldn’t vote for Romney because he is a Mormon – and the actual number might be higher.

With a race that could be decided by less than 5 percent, that could be a problem for Romney, he said.

While former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has not discussed Romney’s faith, he’s made plenty of references to his own, talking about his devout Catholicism. And he’s discussed President Obama’s beliefs, saying the president’s agenda “is based on "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

Rockford resident Heidi Pohl attended Romney’s Monday rally at Byrne Electric and said she’s on the fence about whether to vote for him or Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Like Santorum, she’s Catholic.

“I want to say that Romney being a Mormon isn’t an issue for me,” she said. “But it is a little, I think.”

Calvin College political science professor Doug Koopman said he didn’t think Romney’s faith would cost him votes.

“But there was someone in my church this week asking about the election, and that’s all he wanted to talk about,” he said. “So for people in some denominations, it might be a problem. If a race is going to be decided by 2 or 3 percent, it could make a difference.”

But Koopman said evangelical Christians would likely vote for Romney despite his faith in the general election against Obama, should he be nominated. “It’s strictly a primary issue,” he said.

Gayla Pratt of Lakeview is not a Mormon, but said Romney’s affiliation doesn’t matter to her. “The United States is supposed to be open to all religious views,” she said.

State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, supports Romney and said his Mormon faith isn’t troubling for her.

“We don’t have exactly the same faith, but I look at him as a man of values,” she said. “He’s pro-life, he’s been committed to his wife for more than 30 years. He’s a strong family man. Those are qualities I think people want to see in a president.”

Dave Murray writes for The Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids, Mich. Via RNS.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)