The mainstream media has speculated that the religious right may not be enthusiastic about Mitt Romney’s candidacy, but Evangelicals and Catholics in swing states like Colorado and Iowa are enthused because of social and — more importantly in 2012 — economic issues, and these voters may help tip these states toward Romney.
According to the Denver Post:
In the most organized barrage made by so-called faith voters in a decade, evangelicals and Catholics are walking precincts, registering neighbors to vote and wedging Christian voter guides under windshield wipers in hopes of making President Barack Obama a one-term president.
The galvanization is rooted in anger at Obama’s support of gay marriage, his repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the administration’s requirement that religious-affiliated institutions provide free contraception to employees.
But what this committed group of foot soldiers is hoping resonates among those who are not as swayed by faith as they are is, as they say: the immorality of an economic downturn.
“The economy is a huge all-inclusive moral issue,” a self-described “values voter” told the Post.
In 2008, religious voters were not as enthused about McCain’s candidacy, but that is not the case this year, even though Romney is a member of the Mormon Church, which these groups have been skeptical of in the past.
Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams said while “evangelicals were not motivated four years ago,” they are “critical to Romney carrying the state.”
According to the Post, CitizenLINK, a group tied to the influential Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, has spent $1.3 million in Colorado and other swing states organizing and mobilizing religious voters.
The Post reported:
most evangelical leaders say they have to not just preach to the same choir but attract undecided voters and even Obama supporters of four years ago. Doing so, they say, means making the decision more about the economy and arguing the premise that government doesn’t solve problems, as well as God and family.
In Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad and Rep. Steve King (R) are leading a group of over 100 Iowa Catholics that are also focusing on moral and economic issues to tip Iowa to Romney and Paul Ryan, who himself is a Catholic.
“As a life-long Catholic, I learned very early that we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Paul Ryan said, emphasizing that “that principle has informed my life in public service”
“We understand that policymakers must target the root causes of poverty with reforms that promote economic growth and opportunity,” Ryan said. “Free enterprise and strong communities remain the best means to promote upward mobility and help individuals escape the trap of government dependency.”
Branstad said “Iowa Catholics know that we can’t afford another four years under President Obama’s debt-driven policies” and Obama “cannot defend his record because his policies have failed to turn around our national economy, and a second term has a promised $1 trillion tax increase and more chronic unemployment.”