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Evangelical voters overlooked?

The presidential election is T-3 days away and both Obama and Romney are tied in the polls at 48 percent.

In three days the vote will be decided. But who will decide it? The democrats? The republicans? The women supposedly against Romney? The black community? The hispanics?

What about the evangelicals?

The Wall Street Journal reported the president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A. Smith saying that if evangelicals in Ohio’s rural communities repeat their turnout levels from 2000 and 2004, they will offset the Obama advantage in Cuyahoga County.

“The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I’ve seen it in the last 12 years,” he said. “We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act.”

In the same Oct. 31 article, Daniel Henninger said when Mitt Romney’s 2012 candidacy was gaining traction in the primaries, the conventional wisdom instantly conveyed that the evangelical vote, skeptical of Mormonism, would sink him.

“What if in Ohio next week the opposite is true?” Henninger asked. “There and in other swing states—Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida—the evangelical vote is flying beneath the media’s radar. It’s a lot of voters not to notice. In the 2008 presidential vote, they were 30% of the vote in Ohio, 31% in Iowa and 26% in Wisconsin.

“Mr. Obama’s effort in 2012 to reach out to these folks has been minimal. Mr. Romney met three weeks ago with the Rev. Billy Graham, who is actively supporting the governor. In May, Mr. Romney gave a well-received commencement speech on religious values at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

“Perhaps Mr. Obama concluded that the evangelical vote was his 47%. It’s generally thought that the president burned any remaining bridge to them with the gay-marriage decision that Joe Biden made for him. But it’s more complicated than one issue.”

Watch interview with Henninger (5:03 minutes):

Conservative radio host and author Rush Limbaugh read the WSJ article on air Nov. 1 and said it is a large oversight to not count this group of voters.

“The evangelical vote,” he said. “What would you call them, the religious right, the value voters, or (as they would say at Planned Parenthood), ‘The damn pro-lifers.’ Some moderate Republicans would say ‘damn pro-lifers,’ too, but they’re not being counted on. They’re not being polled. They’re not being factored. They’re not considered a constituency.”

Those “pro-lifers” were given a different name by conservative blogger Jill Stanek.

“The Chick-fil-A people are who Rush Limbaugh was speaking of yesterday, the vastly underestimated bloc of believers who are quietly chomping at the bit to vote next Tuesday.”

A substantial group of notables are endorsing Romney and encouraging this, perhaps overlooked, percent of voters, including the Rev. Billy Graham and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

After meeting with Romney three weeks ago, Graham removed the “cult” label from Mormonism from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association website, but said he encourages the faith community to vote, not who to vote for.

“I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel,” Graham said in full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers. “I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

Graham’s son, Franklin, wrote an opinion piece for USA Today Sept. 25 addressing the question, “Can a Christian vote for a mormon?”

“My answer is yes, for if a biblically faithful evangelical could only vote for a candidate who was perfectly aligned theologically, he or she would be unable to cast a vote for president on November 6 — and that poses another problem for the believer; citizenship in God’s kingdom and in this country demands that we participate by voting and praying for those who govern this earthly kingdom,” he said.

In the same article, Franklin Graham said America is at a profound crossroads.

“Americans must remember that while our nation was founded upon godly principles, we do not have a state religion; rather, our Constitution provides for the freedom to worship without interference from government,” Graham said. “Our forefathers shed their blood to win this right. We must be committed to electing leaders who will protect this liberty and uphold the Constitution as one nation under God that ensures God’s moral laws will not be violated by man’s ever-changing laws.”

So will the evangelical vote decide the election? No one can say for sure, but they should definitely not be overlooked.


Billy Graham buys election ads after Romney meeting

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