Over the weekend, the Rick Perry campaign swung an upper-cut at the GOP front-runner Mitt Romney about his Mormonism. I believe this will play well where it matters: in the GOP primary. In the South, a vast majority of Baptists believe that Mormonism is a cult; for decades, such has been a regular topic of apologetic conferences, sermons, Sunday School lessons, and radio talk shows like the Bible Answer Man. It doesn’t matter what Rick Perry claims to believe; the bell has been rung. This map shows the devastating effect of this particular attack; a sizeable part of the red (which denominates Baptist) may not support Romney merely because he is a Mormon. (A poll from June showed that 23% of southerners would not vote for a Mormon, period.) Remember Mike Huckabee stroked this sentiment a little in 2008 with code words: ‘‘Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’’
I think this only really applies in the primary; Alabama will not flip to Pres. Obama over the issue. However, if even 7-10% of faithful Republicans in North Carolinian, Virginia, Florida or Georgian just sit it out, it may make an electoral difference.