Will South Carolina’s evangelical Christians vote for Mitt Romney?
Team Romney hopes they will, and is launching a new radio ad in the Palmetto State in an effort to woo the key GOP primary voting bloc.
The minute-long spot, “Shares Our Values,” features a trio of prominent conservatives attesting to Romney’s bona fides on social issues.
“Today, Christian conservatives are supporting Mitt Romney because he shares their values: the sanctity of life, the sacredness of marriage and the importance of the family,” says the ad’s female narrator.
The ad notes that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who endorsed Romney’s bid four years ago, said in 2007 that the former Massachusetts governor “feels passionately that the value of human life begins at conception.”
It features Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, stating that Romney “should be welcomed as a great success story for the pro-life movement.”
And it also cites a February 2007 National Review op-ed by James Bopp, Jr., the general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee and former Republican National Committee vice-chairman, who served as an unpaid adviser to Romney’s 2008 campaign.
In his op-ed, Bopp wrote that Romney displayed “both conviction and courage” on social issues during his time as governor.
Evangelicals, or “born-again” Christians, make up a sizeable chunk of South Carolina’s Republican electorate; in 2008, they comprised about 55 percent of all GOP primary voters. Romney won only 11 percent of those voters four years ago, while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee swept evangelicals with 43 percent of their vote.
This time around, though, evangelicals seem to have warmed up to Romney: A CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed the former Massachusetts governor taking 35 percent among self-described born-again Christians, compared with 22 percent for former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), 20 percent for former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and 15 percent for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Romney still faces a battle over his position on social issues, however — namely, a Gingrich TV ad in South Carolina taking aim at Romney’s record on abortion rights as governor.