Religion Less Of A Factor In This Election
With 41 days left until the November election, both presidential candidates are looking to mobilize their bases with increased support. Religious voters in key swing states could make a difference in the election for Romney and incumbent president Barack Obama.
Recently, Romney supporter Ralph Reed has come on to the scene with a plan to mobilize the evangelical- right. Reed is considered to be a key player in the mobilization effort that helped re-elect George W. Bush in 2004.
His organization, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, will target some registered voters. These voters will receive a variety of campaign materials and information via phone calls, mail, text messages and emails.
Reed claims that the Faith and Freedom Coalition will be the largest database of conservative religious voters.
Still, the role that religion will play in the result of the election is yet to be determined.
Varun Soni, dean of religious life at USC, said religion may not have as much impact on the election as it has in the past.
"So far in this election, there has not been too much attention focused on the personal religious lives of the candidates, which is surprising given the Christian diversity (among the) candidates," he said.
This election marks the first in American history where a Protestant has been left off the Republican ticket. John F. Kennedy and Obama are the only two presidents who have defied the white, Protestant formula.
While the religious denominations of the candidates may not sway voters one way or another, values still impact voter turnout and the way people vote.
“In this election, the Republicans have focused on abortion and same-sex marriage as ‘moral’ issues to bring out their base, while the Democrats have used those same issues to mobilize women and the LGBT community around their platform,” Soni said.
However, polls indicate that social issues, while important, are not as important as other issues this election. Much of the campaign rhetoric has been focused on jobs and the economy.
According to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, 87 percent of voters describe the economy as an issue very important to their decision. In comparison, only 46 percent cite abortion as a very important issue.
“It seems as though the economy is the primary concern for most voters, but during every election, social issues play a major role,” Soni said.
Reach Staff Reporter Jillian Olivas here.