Governor Mitt Romney is gaining on President Barack Obama in national polls. Following last week's presidential debate, public opinion shifted. The polls now show the race as a tie. Among evangelicals, however, support for Romney appears to have reached its ceiling. The battle for votes now lies elsewhere.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released its latest political poll Monday. The poll, taken after last week's debate, found Romney ahead of Obama among likely voters 49 to 47 percent. This was a significant shift from Pew's September poll, which had Obama ahead 51 to 43. Both polls show white evangelicals solidly behind Romney. Three-quarters of evangelical likely voters said they will support the GOP ticket. At the other end of the religious-political spectrum, both polls showed those unaffiliated with any religion remaining two-to-one in Obama's camp.
As the race moves forward, both campaigns are unlikely to seek out votes from voters so unlikely to change their minds. Instead, the focus will be on those who can still be persuaded.
If evangelicals and seculars are no longer voting blocs worth fighting over, then they are also unlikely to receive much media attention. Evangelicals mattered in the run-up to the Republican convention, but in the home stretch of the general election, they are no longer newsworthy.
Mainline Protestants and Catholics are now the key religious groups for both campaigns. In September, only 46 percent of mainline Protestants supported Romney. Today, 60 percent say they support the Republican candidate. Catholics have also shifted their support, from 40 percent supporting Romney last month to a dead heat this month. The Romney campaign will want ...