If a Republican candidate’s God-o-Meter rating is way up high, it must mean he’s getting the job done, right? Wrong. Case in point: a new analysis from the Gallup Poll shows that Mitt Romney’s strong Mormon identification (keeping God-o-Meter’s needle up) continues to be a drag among a constituency he sorely needs to win the GOP nomination: churchgoing Protestants. Gallup shows Romney with a net favorability rating of +3 among churchgoing Protestants, with 32-percent holding a favorable opinion of him and 29-percent holding an unfavorable one. Compare that to socially liberal Rudy Giuliani’s +19 favorability rating or Fred Thompson’s +25 rating among the same voters–not to mention Barack Obama’s +10 rating–and the magnitude of Romney’s problem becomes as clear as a God-o-Meter reading.
“Even if Romney eventually wins the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary,” Gallup notes, “his candidacy could stall in the subsequent southern state primaries and caucuses unless he can improve his standing among religious Protestants.”
To the extent that a silver lining exists for Romney, it’s that a plurality of churchgoing Protestants–39-percent–have no opinion of him. He’ll have to do quite a sales job among those undecideds to make it to the general. But God-o-Meter must note that a certain Democratic frontrunner also has her work cut out for her: Hillary Clinton has a net favorability rating of -11-percent (yes, that’s negative eleven percent) among Protestant churchgoers, with only 3-percent undecided. She may not need to change too many Protestant minds to get her party’s primary nod. But the general election could be another story.


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