As Mitt Romney is making some headway in appealing to evangelical Protestant voters, he may be weakening his own Mormon base in the process, reports The New Republic magazine (Nov. 19).
Romney has already angered a vocal minority of Mormons who protest that he is soft-pedaling his faith in the hopes of currying the favor of the much more powerful evangelical vote. One example of this came earlier this year when Romney said the Mormon and evangelical belief in the second coming of Christ to Jerusalem are the same; he neglected to mention that Mormons also believe that Christ will establish his kingdom in Jackson County, Missouri.
He has also seemed embarrassed by or downplayed important Mormon practices, such as baptism for the dead, and has adopted evangelical language (such as claiming Jesus as his “personal savior”) that has “soured” a minority of Mormons on his candidacy, writes Josh Patashnik. While Romney is still supported by the majority of Mormons that could change if Mormons (like a segment of Catholics during John F. Kennedy’s campaign) feel that he is “giving away the store” in pursuit of evangelical votes. Says one Mormon observer: “…I think more and more people are starting to realize that he is going to do whatever it takes to get elected– whether it’s good for the church or not.”