Barack Obama’s supporters will have a tough time claiming that his race is more of an impediment to his chances in 2012 than Mitt Romney’s religion is for him, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The poll revealed that more people would be uncomfortable with a Mormon marrying into their family than someone black. Twenty percent of voters objected to Mormons; 14% objected to blacks. And the percentage of those opposed to blacks marrying into their family dropped when non-blacks lived in close proximity to blacks, whereas with Mormons, the distance had no appreciable effect.
Both groups seem to be making headway; when polled, only 37% of voters said they thought there was a problem with racism against blacks as opposed to roughly 50% in January of 2009. 31% of voters thought there was discrimination against Mormons as opposed to 39% in 2007.
Mitt Romney’s campaign is reflecting a pragmatic realism within the Evangelical community; they may not be comfortable with Mormonism’s theological beliefs but they are much more comfortable with Mormonism’s inherent patriotism and conservative social values than the profoundly secular and ashamed-of-America values Barack Obama espouses. This is reflected in the poll; Romney leads Obama among Evangelicals by 63%, far more than John McCain’s 47% margin in 2008.
If the Evangelical community unites behind Romney, it is a huge difference from 2008, when many of them didn’t vote at all. Cries of racism from Obama can’t dilute the fact that Romney’s Mormonism could have caused him the same problems but didn’t; it’s simply that Romney’s values are more appealing to a broader base of people.