Are Voters Ready for a Mormon Prez?

June 9th, 2011 at 6:06 am | 66 Comments |

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Political watchers claim that the greatest impediment standing between Mitt Romney and the White House is his almost comic history of flip-flopping on major issues. Guess again. Ironically, a new Quinnipiac poll reveals that Mitt’s biggest political problem may be the only belief that he has held constantly throughout his career: his religion.

Similar to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, the new Quinnipiac poll reveals that, as things stand now, Romney appears to be the only Republican capable of knocking off the president in the general election. Head to head with the president, the poll shows Romney trailing by 6 points (47% – 41%).  The results show Palin getting annihilated (53% – 36%), while Huntsman and T-Paw don’t do much better: trailing 48% – 34% and 48% – 36% respectively.

However, there is bad news for Romney (and the GOP’s chances of taking back the White House). Americans, it turns out, don’t much care for the idea of a Mormon being president. The poll finds that less than half of voters have a favorable view of the Mormon religion. More than three in ten have an unfavorable view of the religion. This could be overcome by Americans’ distaste for President Obama’s politics, but it appears that for once, identity politics might actually swing in favor of the Democrats (a black Democrat, at that). Only 60% of those that responded to the poll said they were entirely or somewhat comfortable with a Mormon being President.

Yet, despite this unfortunate reaction and Romney’s record of flip-flopping, he’s running far ahead of the other GOP candidates and is toe to toe with Obama. This fact speaks to the weakness of the Republican field and the high level of voter discontent with Obama.

In 2008, Obama inspired a large portion of the country to actively support (rather than simply settle on) his candidacy.  No candidate (the president included) will inspire the same enthusiasm this time. For a variety of reasons — rightly or wrongly — when Americans head to the polls in November 2012 it appears they will be voting either out of sheer party loyalty or for the candidate they dislike the least.

Recent Posts by Jeb Golinkin



66 Comments so far ↓

  • Hunter01

    If the situation were reversed — i.e., the Dem was Mormon and the Repub was black — there would be no end to anti-Mormon slurs and innuendos throughout the campaign. And they would be effective. But the Dems won’t do it. It’s not in their DNA. May prove to be a dull election season.

  • TerryF98

    The public is not really going to elect a Cultist as President. Anyone who has to bend reality far enough to believe the crap Mormons do is not fit to be the man making rational decisions for the country.

    • chicago_guy

      I’d agree. Comes down to it Mormonisn is 19th century Scientology. Time may have broken off some of Mormonism’s original tenets and appendages, but the weirdness at the core remains.

      And it won’t be Democrats themselves making the noise; most of the protests and revelations about Mormonism’s oddities will be coming from mainstream Christians backing other GOP candidates. Romney will probably still survive, but the damage will have been done.

      • abj

        Three words: Reverend Jeremiah Wright. As I’ve said before, if Americans don’t care that Obama attended that church, I have trouble believing they’ll hold Romney’s religion against him.

        Also, just judging from the comments to this article, it IS the Democrats making the noise.

    • vishnu

      oh — and Mormonism is more of a “cult” than other religions??? PLEASE.. all religions are cults and promote myth and superstition… look how much more of a religious fanatic Santorum is than Romney… but he’s more acceptable because he’s a Christian??? what hogwash…

      • Houndentenor

        It may well be hogwash, but growing up that’s exactly what I was taught about the LDS church.

  • armstp

    I am not ready for a President that believes in magic underwear.

    • cporet

      I”m sick of being able to only vote for someone who believes he has an invisible friend who can help him solve his and the country’s problems.

    • sinz54

      The derogatory comments from left-wing posters here about “magic underwear” and “cultist” illustrate an important point:

      According to that Quinnipiac poll, Republicans actually have a more favorable impression of Mormonism than do Democrats:

      “In a substantial partisan split, 68 percent of Republicans are comfortable with a Mormon president compared to 49 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independent voters. There are gender and racial gaps: 64 percent of men but only 55 percent of women are comfortable; 64 percent of whites but only 38 percent of blacks.

      “Republicans have a 51 – 31 percent favorable view of Mormonism, compared to a split 39 – 38 percent among Democrats and 48 – 26 among independent voters. Men are favorable 50 – 29 percent and women are favorable 42 – 34 percent. Whites are favorable 48 – 31 percent; blacks are unfavorable 34 – 38 percent. ”

      “It appears that the American people – especially Democrats – have many more questions about a Mormon in the White House than they do about followers of other religions,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

      http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1608

      If Romney gets the GOP nomination, I expect the attack dogs from the Left (like that MSNBC lesbian who invented the slur “tea bagger”) to start right in on attacking Mormonism. Especially since Mormons are staunchly against gay marriage, that alone should invite a deluge of venom from the Left–as it did in California with that Proposition on gay marriage.

      • Houndentenor

        Rachel Maddow did NOT invent the “slur” “teabagger”. Tea Party protestors were using that expression in interviews going into the first rally and many people laughed at it and kept it up. It was only after Tea Partiers realized that the expression meant something sexual that they stopped using it and started attacking anyone who used that term. No liberal coined that term unless someone in a PR firm was punking them going into the first rally.

      • TerryF98

        I don’t have a favorable opinion of anyone who has an invisible sky fairy for a friend and says like Bush that the sky fairy tells him what to do.

        And look how Bush and his sky fairy effed up the country royally. So much for an omnipotent God.

      • jakester

        Sorry Sinz.
        but a good chunk of your precious Real American red stater types, especially the Baptists & Evangelicals, have a negative view of Mormonism. As well as look at the way that Reverend Wright & his TUCC was attacked in the last cycle. So your contrived outrage is really so cynical, it’s hilarious!

  • nhthinker

    “It appears that the American people – especially Democrats – have many more questions about a Mormon in the White House than they do about followers of other religions ,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “And most don’t see much similarity between their religion and Mormonism.

    The data indicates that as demographics go, Blacks have more negative view of the idea of a Mormon President than Democrats, and also those with no college education have a more negative view.
    The crosstabs would be very interesting but they weren’t release in that report.

    Independents view more closely aligns with Republicans, which is a good omen for Romney. The uneducated Democrats that weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

    It’s too bad we don’t have a similar Quinipiac poll from 2008 regarding having the potential for a President that sat in a Rvd Wright “G’Damn America” church.

    As to the indication that Obama is ahead of Romney- The QP poll released the day before Florida Governor race was off by 7 points in favor of the Democrats.
    Monday, Aug. 23:
    Quinnipiac poll on FL GOP Gov. race:
    Bill McCollum 39, Rick Scott 35 (McCollum +4)

    Tuesday, Aug. 24:
    Florida voters in FL GOP Gov. race:
    Bill McCollum 43.5, Rick Scott 46.4 (Scott +2.9)

    http://virginiavirtucon.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/more-proof-that-quinnipiac-is-the-worst-polling-organization-out-there/

    • TerryF98

      From that well known bastion of Liberal bias Fox News.

      • balconesfault

        As to the indication that Obama is ahead of Romney- The QP poll released the day before Florida Governor race was off by 7 points in favor of the Democrats.
        Monday, Aug. 23:
        Quinnipiac poll on FL GOP Gov. race:
        Bill McCollum 39, Rick Scott 35 (McCollum +4)

        Tuesday, Aug. 24:
        Florida voters in FL GOP Gov. race:
        Bill McCollum 43.5, Rick Scott 46.4 (Scott +2.9)

        Are you really under the belief that Bill McCollum is a Democrat?

        Maybe you should change your name to “NHLearner” … so you could actually deal in facts, and not fantasy.

      • PracticalGirl

        nhthinker:

        What independents think about Romney means very little if he can’t make it past the GOP base in the primary. Are GOP voters (especially the religious right) ready to elevate a Mormon as their candidate? That needs to be dealt with before any analysis of what might happen in the general makes any impact.

      • nhthinker

        After years of saying how biased Fox News is TerryF98 is more than willing to quote them when they report on a poll that Terry agrees with…

        The new polling firm the Fox is employing has some interesting results.
        The count of Democrats to Republicans to independents were: 402:333:154
        Dramatically underrepresented independents.

        47% are planning to vote in the Democratic primary and 37% are planning to vote in the Republican and 15% don’t plan to vote in the primaries. Obviously, these numbers are way off from what is realistic. Again, way under-representing the voters that would participate in the general election but not the primaries.

        To compare in 1996, there were about 10M votes in the Democratic primaries and 14M in the Republican primaries.

        • TerryF98

          I merely put it up there because you believe everything Faux spouts. Therefore this must be the truth!

        • Graychin

          When EVEN a highly-biased source like Faux publishes information unfavorable to its own preferred slant, then there’s probably some truth to it.

          After all, some people don’t believe ANYTHING that they didn’t hear from the “fair and balanced” network. Everything else is “lamestream media.”

    • jakester

      As usual, you live up to your rep as a deep thinker. Want to take a guess why blacks have an unfavorable opinion about the LDS? Considering how today’s GOP goes out of their way to pander to the most ignorant people they can find as well as disparage intellectuals, I find your comment about uneducated Democrats amusing. Who attracts more uneducated people, Bachmann or say Kucinich?

  • ottovbvs

    1) Mormonism is a religious cult not dissimilar from Scientology. It’s of no interest to me personally but in this religion obsessed country it’s hard to see how it’s not going to have some impact even if it’s only at the margins.

    2) I don’t buy the enthusiasm comment either. Obama’s re-election depends to some extent on reviving the enthusiasm for his candidacy that prevailed in 2008. And when it gets down to the short strokes of an election the general level of enthusiasm builds not unlike the world series or the superbowl. He’ll have a war chest of around a billion (far ahead of his competition) with which to remind all his constituencies of the issues that are important to them, and he’s a very attractive campaigner. My view of the 2012 election has always been based on the math. If the turnout is around 130 million as in 2008 those that voted for him then will vote for him again. Anything beyond that depends on the appeal of his opponent and maybe the attitude of those on the fence the last time around. There’s a well known tendency to stick with what you know, which is why sitting presidents have generally won re-election.

  • PracticalGirl

    Jeb:

    A serious question- how was Romney doing in the ’08 cycle around this time? I seem to remember him polling well with GOP voters in 2007, and then the anti-Mormon campaign began in all the same circles-talk radio, blogs churches etc.

    Before we deal with the general voting population, we need to see what sort of mudslinging happens as GOP candidates try to knock Romney from his front runner position. Do the candidates still need to pander to the religious right? Is the religious right still intractable when it comes to Mormonism?

  • tom78212

    I live in a Mormon dominated area in a state strongly controlled by Mormon politicians. They do what the Church tells them to do. Period. The Church has very deep pockets to back its political agenda – e.g., anti-same sex marriage resolutions and anti-immigration laws in CA, AZ, UT and elsewhere. Be vary careful who you vote for.

  • Stewardship

    I have issues with tenets of the Mormon faith. But, I’m not going to make an issue of it. I’m Catholic, and I have protestant friends who think I’m nuts (“You really, truly, actually believe that wafer is the the flesh of Christ?”). Non-Christian friends harrumph at the whole “He is risen” explanation for what they clearly see as a case of body snatching. So, we all have “leaps of faith” in our respective religions.

    Michigan elected a Mormon governor back in the 1960′s (Mitt’s Dad). Mormonism is a fast growing religion, and every male is well-schooled in retail campaigning (going door-to-door to knock on hostile doors and selling their faith). Given our checks and balances, I’m pretty comfortable that we could elect a Mormon or a Muslim, and it’s not going to impact my practice of my own faith, or my public life.

  • balconesfault

    So, we all have “leaps of faith” in our respective religions.

    True – and as a deist that’s the benign take I have for most religions out there.

    Although the basic premise of Mormonism flies directly in the face of all anthropological and archaelogical data we have regarding the Americas.

    I’m amused when Christian archaeologists try to prove that some scrap of wood found on a mountain in the Middle East was part of Noah’s ark. But even that seems far less problematic than the mountain of anachronisms contained in the Book of Mormon.

  • Graychin

    I wasn’t particularly comfortable with George W. Bush’s religion – but when you get right down to it, it was his POLITICS that were so troublesome.

    It’s worrisome when any politician believes that God is whispering in his ear, has called him personally to lead a great nation, and that therefore he need not doubt the righteousness of any of his divinely-inspired decisions. Remember when Bush said he couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made in his presidency?

    Blind faith in oneself is also known as hubris. Any president who doesn’t agonize over his grave decisions (think Lincoln) isn’t worth having and is a danger to the nation.

    Romney’s Mormonism doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that the man seems to have no center, no core beliefs. If he finds that his Mormonism is an obstacle to winning the presidency, then watch for him to convert to Southern Baptist – or whatever – after checking to see which way the wind is blowing. What’s one more flip-flop?

  • Rubicon

    And the bigotry continues . . .

  • balconesfault

    And the bigotry continues . . .

    Out with it man … what are you calling bigotry?

    Simply believing that someone else’s theology is wrong?

    That would pretty much make EVERYONE a bigot, eh? At least except for the Unitarians.

    • Rubicon

      balconesfault – touched a nerve? You may wish to read the constitution before the week’s out.

      • balconesfault

        More hand waving. If you have something to say, say it …

        • Rubicon

          Are you really that thick?

        • balconesfault

          I just don’t like innuendo. If you’re going to accuse people of bigotry, you have a responsibility to man up and say exactly what the bigotry is. Or you have a responsibility to STFU. Or you just leave yourself open to mockery for really having nothing useful to say.

  • joemama54

    2011 and we are worrying about a Mormon?
    I never heard anyone in Mass. complain that Romney’s religion was the source of any trouble when he was Gov.
    I remember when people actually said that if they voted for JFK, that we would be taking orders from the Vatican. Same tune, different words. Forget about it and shut up if that is all you have to talk about. By the way, I am Jewish. Who cares.

    As to his apparent flip flops, what do you expect from a rational person trying to win the nomination of a party that is (presently) allowing its wing nuts choose the nominee?
    The wing nuts are mostly the only ones actually concerned about his religion.
    He has to pander to the extreme right wing to get the nomination, and then spend the general campaign convincing us that he is a moderate.

    No rocket science here.

    • balconesfault

      He has to pander to the extreme right wing to get the nomination, and then spend the general campaign convincing us that he is a moderate. No rocket science here.

      No rocket science if you’re dealing with a center-right GOP.

      The problem is that Romney’s not dealing with a center-right GOP. Romney’s dealing with a GOP where his father, George W. Romney, would have been as welcome as Fidel Castro. Pandering to the extreme right wing to get the nomination now ties a pretty big anvil to the hopes of any GOP candidate in the general election.

  • midcon

    As it happened during Kennedy’s time, the question will be asked and answered. Where does Romney’s allegience lie? There were a great many folks (mostly decendents of the Reformation) that believed that the Pope was going to be running the U.S. Kennedy effectively answered those questions. However, it is American Catholics that really put to rest the question of how much control the Pope has. Over time the rest of U.S. has come to realize that American Catholics bedevil Rome. They are the most obstinate, non compliant, perverse segment of Catholicism that Rome ever encountered. The Pope can wield tremendous influence as he does in many nations, but Americans generally do what they want.

    Contrast that with Mormonism and the extent of the influence the Mormon Church has over it’s adherents. Those who have done even superficial research can tell you that the Mormon hierarchy exerts tremendous influence over every aspect of its adherents lives. That’s not to say it has not been a benefit for the individuals in the church, but would that influence extend to the White House? I believe it would in so far that it governs the thoughts and actions of the man who occupies the Oval Office who if he in the good graces of the church will be compliant to the dictates of the church hierarchy or suffer the consequences.

    While biblical literalists have beliefs that defy logic as well, the fragmentary nature of Christians governance structures prevent them from unwanted influence over the secular reigns of government. This is not true of the Morman church which has fairly rigid and complete control over its members and most aspects of their lives. Equating the Morman religion with other Christian religions and structures is an incorrect comparison. A better comparison would be Islam (although it has no central authority) and Judasim which has multiple authorities but still is a central force in many Jew’s lives.

    The fundamental question is whose authority does Romney recognize? Robert Drinian, a Jesuit Priest, served in Congress until 1980 when Pope John Paul II demanded that all priests withdraw from politics. Drinian complied. He made his choice. What would Romney do if there was conflict between the Mormon church and his position? What decisions would he make and how would those decision be influenced by the Mormon church? Those are fair questions. I have not seen the answers and I am not sure what I will think of the answers when I do see them.

    • PracticalGirl

      A rational answer that hasn’t yet held water with the Christian Right, who couldn’t care less that Romney governed MA without once publicly summoning the angel Moroni. Do you think that the religious right will stand by and let a Mormon represent their party this time?

      • nhthinker

        PracticalGirl, you have it all wrong, according to the survey, the demographics that have the largest problem with Mormons are Democrats and Blacks and those without any college education.

        Another polls show 70% of those planning to vote in the Republican primary are enthusiastic or pleased if Romney wins the nomination. Huckabee was very anti-Romney last time. So far this year, Huckabee has been very muted about any criticism of Romney. The Christian Right have not rallied around a specific candidate. Fox hiring Huckabee and Palin has actually made it substantially harder for a Christian Right candidate to get enough oxygen to be seen as competitive with Romney. And they will use what little oxygen they have to compete against the other social conservative candidates to try to entice donors to their camp. If Huckabee and Palin decided to get behind a single candidate and do it early, then that candidate could be competitive with Romney: but without that happening soon, Romney starts running away with it long before anyone actually votes.

    • joemama54

      “Those who have done even superficial research can tell you that the Mormon hierarchy exerts tremendous influence over every aspect of its adherents lives.”

      Of the ten or so Mormon friends/acquaintances of mine that I have known through my life, I never saw or heard anything that would lead me to believe that they were more or less likely to be controlled by their religious leaders than any other friend or group of friends belonging to any other religion.
      Would you please list some of those who have done “even superficial research”?
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church.
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney senior ever bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church?

    • joemama54

      “Those who have done even superficial research can tell you that the Mormon hierarchy exerts tremendous influence over every aspect of its adherents lives.”

      Of the ten or so Mormon friends/acquaintances of mine that I have known through my life, I never saw or heard anything that would lead me to believe that they were more or less likely to be controlled by their religious leaders than any other friend or group of friends belonging to any other religion.
      Would you please list some of those who have done “even superficial research”?
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church.
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney senior ever bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church?

    • joemama54

      Midcon,
      You wrote “Those who have done even superficial research can tell you that the Mormon hierarchy exerts tremendous influence over every aspect of its adherents lives”

      Would you please list some of those who have done “even superficial research”?
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church.
      Do you know of any occurance where Romney senior ever bent to the instructions from the Mormon Church?

      I am still waiting.

      • Houndentenor

        I have a Mormon friend in California who were threatened with excommunication (or whatever the call that in LDS) if they did not donate money and time to the Prop 8 campaign. It was pretty intense pressure at the time and they pressured his wife and children over his non-support (he’s an opera singer with many gay friends and did not want to support the amendment). So yeah, the LDS church does put political pressure on people via the church (which I would think would threaten their tax-exempt status).

  • TerryF98

    “What decisions would he make and how would those decision be influenced by the Mormon church? Those are fair questions. I have not seen the answers and I am not sure what I will think of the answers when I do see them.”

    The answers would depend on what day of the week you asked them. Monday’s Mitt would answer differently than Friday’s Mitt.

  • Diomedes

    In the end, one batsh*t set of beliefs is really not that different from another.

    So Mormonism believes in magic underwear. Catholics believe that a wafer actually becomes the body of Christ. Evangelicals continue to believe that evolution is false and the earth is only 6000 years old. Every belief system is going to have attributes that have no basis in reality.

    What is most paramount is how much a person’s belief system governs his policies. Judging by Romney’s record, I don’t see him really adhering absolutely to Mormon tenets. It seems more to me like his religion is somehwat of an afterthought to him.

    If you look at Bush, his beliefs CLEARLY dictated his policies. He pushed abstinance-only education, defunded stem cell research, enabled Creationism and claimed that his decisions were the result of him ‘talking to God’. Now THAT is dangerous. And as we saw, the end result was devastating for our country and many of the people’s of the world. Nero clearly fiddled as Rome burned.

    Personally, I think Huckabee might have been more of an issue with pushing religious views. Santorum is clearly nuts and Bachmann has demonstrated that her faith defines her decisions as well. So those are the individuals I would be concerned about. But I don’t see that sort of behavior with Romney.

  • Saladdin

    A Mormon? Sure, but a disingenuous flip flopper? No.

  • CentristNYer

    As Diomedes rightly points out, Mormonism isn’t really any more insane than any other faith. The critical question here is how literally Romney — or any candidate for that matter — interprets the teachings of his church and whether he uses them as a foundation for his decisions as president. Bush 43 showed us the dangers in that.

    Obviously, the evangelical-friendly candidates like Bachmann, Pawlenty and Santorum have made it plain that they intend to use that Bible as their guide, which should frighten any rational individual. Deep down, I think Romney isn’t crazy enough to go that route — even though he often runs right up to the line with his God talk — but the primaries should be telling.

  • dmnolan

    Doesn’t the question assume that Romney actually belives in anything?

  • LFC

    I expect the attack dogs from the Left (like that MSNBC lesbian who invented the slur “tea bagger”) to start right in on attacking Mormonism.

    History Lesson: The term “tea bagger” was actually invented by the (now) Tea Partiers themselves. Those who understand the slang meaning of the term merely mocked them for it. And although the Tea Party ran from the term once they found out its alternate meaning, it’s still used to mock them.

    And that “MSNBC lesbian” happens to be a Rhodes Scholar. She has had right-wingers say they got a fair (though tough) interview from her. Imagine trying to say that about Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, etc. with a straight face. You may not like her politics, and she’s certainly too left for my taste, but she’s intelligent, accomplished, does not play fast and loose with the facts, and treats even those she disagrees with fairly. She even retracts things she reports but turn out to be false! (Faux News thinks “retraction” is a surgical technique.) It would be great if the right-wing media was populated with people modeled more after her than the asshats they currently have. The left/right discourse would be vastly more enlightening.

    • jakester

      LFC
      it really is hilarious to hear the teabaggers blame that issue on Rachel Maddows, then have the gall to call her the bigot, when the baggers represent the most backwards, socially conservative, gay bashing element of America. Then again, anti-semites often accuse Jews of being clannish and snotty & bigoted towards the goyim.

  • LFC

    Polls now for the Nov. 2012 election? Really? They can be way off 3 days before an election. A year and a half out from the election and even before the primary season, they’re useless.

  • balconesfault

    They can be way off 3 days before an election. A year and a half out from the election and even before the primary season, they’re useless.

    Yep – particularly when polling independents.

    There are demonstrably about 27% of America who wouldn’t vote for Obama even in by some unfathomable miracle Al Qaeda and the Taliban surrendered, unemployment dropped to 4.5%, the budget was balanced, and taxes were even cut, all between now and November 2012.

    There are probably about 30% of America who would still vote for Obama even if Al Qaeda struck again, Afghan fell to the Talibani again, a double dip recession occurred with a vengeance, and the deficit doubled.

    There are 40% in the middle, of varying shades, some very predisposed against Obama but who could be rationally persuaded via one or another of their key issues being addressed … and some disposed to favor Obama but could change their minds if they thought that Obama’s Presidency was taking us to hell in a handbasket. Probably about 25% of the electorate sits in one of these two camps, and it’s really unlikely that between now and 2012 much will happen to change their minds.

    So you end up with about 15-20% who are truly independents. And by and large a lot of those true independents don’t even pay attention until around mid-late 2012. The more you pay attention all the time the more partisan you’re likely to become …

    • Saladdin

      The more you pay attention all the time the more partisan you’re likely to become …

      True, too true. Like a friend of mine once said, “politics is a soap opera for pseudo-intellectuals and intellectuals.”

  • nhthinker

    Even Sarah Palin is polling better against the incumbent than any of the Democrats were in May 2003…
    http://abcnews.go.com/images/pdf/926a3Election04.pdf

    “This poll tested Bush against Joseph Lieberman, Richard Gephardt and John Kerry, the three leading Democratic contenders. They run the same: Bush leads Lieberman by 61-34 percent; Gephardt by 60-35 percent, and Kerry by 60-34 percent – each receiving no more than base Democratic support.”

    Obama is in big trouble.

    • ottovbvs

      Obama is in big trouble.

      Yeah…like you’re capable of rendering a remotely objective opinion of whether he’s in trouble or not. I might as well ask Eichmann for an objective opinion on the Jews.

      • nhthinker

        Eichmann and Jews… Thanks for conceding the argument by going all Nazi on us.

        Flake.

  • Russnet

    Don’t understand what the big deal is.

    Once I mistakenly got off the national forest trail on a long-distance hike, second day of a three day solo ‘trans-Zion,’ into one corner of Zion Canyon and out the other. On that hot October afternoon I ended up in a dry riverbed around three pm with little water. I did my best to aw-shucks it while my sub-conscience delved into survival mode. Sweating and legs cramping with a forty pound pack on my back, I reversed course knowing that the original trail could be found in a matter of time. But my sense of direction was shot, one full night and 26 hours out from the trail head at Kolob Canyons. Six miles through Wildcat Canyon lay ahead to reach my designated campsite. Had not seen a soul all day. Sweat dripped from my brow. Snakes were laughing at my ankle socks. It was not looking good.

    Shortly after reversing course, from out of nowhere, I heard the distant chattering of humans, female humans. As it grew more audible, it became an almost hallucinogenic sound: as if a hidden coffee party of suburban housewives were occurring behind desert sage. Suddenly, coming around the corner of the wide dirt path I was focused intently on, appeared a group of seven ladies, all middle-age or elder, some with sweaters wrapped around their waists, some carrying water bottles and wearing fancy hats, all dressed in odd pastel colors and a few (the elders) appearing somewhat relieved at my sight.

    The feeling was hardly mutual. During numerous long-distance solo backpacking trips in all my years, I had yet to go a full day on the trail anywhere in the U.S. national park system without seeing at least one other person. It was a cold if symbolic reminder of overpopulation and an individual’s stark inability to fully escape humanity, a drop of imperfection in otherwise perfect days walking in self-sustaining mode through earth’s magnificent auditoriums.

    The quest was lost again. The women, seeming as surprised at my sight as I was at theirs, exclaimed almost in unison, “we’re lost!” My modesty prevailed as I announced that I was too, but the real trail is not far back, I added confidently. The group of ladies turned and joined me on the trudge back up what now appeared, in reverse, to be a long curving horse path up a hill and out of the riverbed. Dodging hoofmarks, loose rocks and the occasional round patty, we all thus engaged in what could be one of the oddest rounds of small talk I’ve ever participated in. I was certain the trail was ahead a few minutes, so the temporary gathering instantly took on sort of an amused, wtf feel.

    One of the elder women was British, clearly. “This was supposed to be a short hike! My lord, it is hot. Oh dear.” Her white tennis shoes, more suitable for ping-pong than Zion Canyon, were orangish-brown beyond hope.

    “I was on track until this juncture just up here. Where are you headed?” I asked.

    A younger woman, in her thirties, who recognized the value of coming across someone like me to save what had clearly become an unfortunate turn for the ladies, and who save for her wedding ring might have been the one hitting on me (and vice versa) if we were all tipsy in a saloon instead of lost in the desert, said “we left Wildcat trailhead about two hours ago. We’re trying to get to the Hop Valley trailhead.”

    Ah yes, the Hop Valley trail. It had murdered my plans already that long middle day of the trans-Zion. Seven miles through ‘Hop Valley’ (sounded nice enough on the map) represented just the first but by far the longest dry riverbed of the day, filled with steaming cowdrops, horse flies, staring cattle, mud, sand and rocks, and yet surrounded left and right by magnificent mesozoic-aged canyon walls and bright yellow aspens.

    I said “You’re not far. Let’s get back to the juncture. You’ve got to head around this hill here to get to Hop Valley trailhead.” As I waved my arm toward the hill I had just circumnavigated, I noticed how large that hill now appeared, almost mountainous in size.

    The British lady blurted out “WHAT!!? Around THAT?? Dear LORD.”

    Conversation among the other ladies returned to coffee party levels once we began moving back in the right direction. My ego swelled slightly in this MacGyver moment. Half my brain was quite amused as the other half engaged in boy scout conversation with their lead girl scout, the younger married woman. I was The Protector of a gaggle of lost women. I was saving certain hysteria, and delivered enough serenity through my presence alone to allow their return to more important things: coffee table chatter. Must have been my well-rigged two day pack, four day beard and straining calf muscles, along with an outer sense of calmness (in truth aided by physical weariness).

    Being a typical male, I knew as we neared the trail juncture that, despite complaints of excessive heat and dirty shoes, the ladies were going to be fine. I began to think about myself. I had another eight or nine miles ahead and it was getting to be late afternoon and was still hot. My day was far from over.

    I blurted out, “I’m running low on water. Do you have any to spare?”

    Two ladies instantly hand me full bottles of Evian water. Haha! Whatever. Perfect. I downed one quickly and poured the other into my canteen as we walked along the horse path closer to the last known trail.

    Back to conversation. Being the polite guy I tend to be, I offered some details about myself. Where I was from (San Diego), that I was alone and attempting a trans-Zion (“oooh!”), that I loved Zion Canyon and was very much looking forward to a beer and a steak upon my return to Springdale, the quaint southwesterny tourist town at the base of Zion Canyon and the park.

    A few offered their agendas: That they were day-trippers and they love Zion, too. “Our friend is visiting from England so we thought we’d show her. . . ”

    “Hrmph!” The white haired British woman was over civility. Her legs were moving almost like an old butler’s would, shuffling along slowly, each foot pulled up and plopped down by the hips as if engaged in a lower-tortial tug-of-war. I walked slowly to bring up the rear, as a responsible group leader would.

    We reached the juncture. Feeling as relieved myself as the ladies were, we each took turns describing from where we came. Clearly the most astute of the ladies, a tanned older woman with short dark hair, who had kept largely quiet during our encounter, pointed in the proper direction and described how I should make my way indeed up the skinny squirrel gulley (no other way to describe it) that I had pondered but discounted as the continuing trail before mistakenly turning down the horsepath. The skinny squirrel gulley would return me to Wildcat Canyon trail.

    I nodded in agreement. I was now more oriented, having furiously studied my topo map in those hot, confused moments in the riverbed.

    “Oh that’s McPeak hill. Ok. And Wildcat Canyon continues up beyond the east side?”

    “Yes” she replied, “in about a half-mile you’ll get back on a much more clearly marked trail. Now when you’re traversing the large shale plates, it is easy to get off track again. Just follow the karens.”

    Karens, it turns out, are small rock formations placed along difficult trail segments in the desest southwest by past hikers, intended as navigation aids. Three small rocks stacked upon each other, with a small arrowhead on top pointing in a certain direction, for example, is a classic karen.

    Signs of love.

    I pointed and explained to the seven mystery women, the most random group of people I have ever met in my life, who all listened intently, that they must go down this small canyon, through that path, and as it emerges on the other side you will see the clearly marked trail. “You’re about two miles from your destination” I cheerily concluded.

    “Alright!” “Yay!” “Thank you!” came the replies. “UGH” said the British woman.

    We all smiled. Another woman handed me a bottle of water, “Thank you so much. Have a great hike!”

    I gladly took that third bottle of water. Later, in fact, as I stumbled through Wildcat Canyon discovering with horror that the thin blue line crisscrossing Wildcat Canyon trail on the map was this late in the season now a dried up creek, I drank my last drop of Evian water. I dodged my first rattlesnake crossing the trail about an hour after that.

    Nearing dusk, as my legs were cramping and I truly entered survival mode, I miraculously stumbled upon an underground stream. I dropped the pack and pulled out the filter pump in about three seconds flat. That Zion holy water, along with a random group of friendly women lost like myself, and a few well-placed karens, allowed me to reach my intended camp with a much stronger gait than otherwise would have been (if at all), just as the sun set and the temperature began to fall precipitously. Danger zone infiltrated, extreme danger zone avoided.

    It was time to part ways. I hitched up my backpack after tucking away the third bottle of water, and, being the garrulous sort of guy I am, happily exclaimed “Hey hope to see you all down in Springdale tomorrow night. I’m buying the Chardonnay!”

    As the ladies headed in formation down the skinny trail into the small canyon I had come from, the last turned back to me and said “no thanks! We’re Mormons!”

  • Argy F

    I don’t personally believe his Mormonism will be a death blow as far as the general electorate goes.

    It would be wonderful (to me) if I could feel the same about a theoretical candidate with no religious affiliation and open about that non/dis belief.

  • jakester

    Hey if Romney gets the nomination, maybe Hugh Hewitt could sell all the leftovers from his great book, “A Mormon in the Whitehouse”?

  • Bunker555

    +1 jakester comments

  • Raskolnik

    “Are voters ready for a Mormon President?”

    In a word…no, thank God.

    The responses of some of the people here who (I’m just guessing) voted for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 indicate that they are willing to go to almost any length in order to justify not voting for Obama in 2012. Shame on them! I highly doubt they are Mormon, which means they are willing to turn a blind eye to the pernicious heresies at the core of this pagan mystery-cult in order to serve their political/culture-war interests. I know that no Catholic or Orthodox could ever do so; my scorn, therefore, remains firmly focused on those Protestants who are willing to abandon mainstream theology, and embrace heresy, for the sake of earthly political ambition. Once more: shame on you!

    Some of the secular atheist types seem to think that the doctrine of Transubstantiation, which has its origins in the divine nature of the feast-offering at the Mass, and is rigorously theologically developed and has been for centuries, is somehow just as “nuts” as believing that a huckster found some golden tablets in the woods of New York that told the secret history of the lost tribes of Israel. The story about the lost tribes was conclusively disproven by the Mormons’ own genetic research, comparing the DNA of various Native American tribes with that of the Jewish peoples. Transubstantiation, by contrast, in addition to being a Sacrament and therefore a miracle in the strict sense of a “visible sign of God’s presence,” never implies anything more than that the nature or substance of the bread and wine have been transformed, while their outer characteristics (“accidents” in the Aristotelian sense) remain the same. One may choose to believe this, or not, but it is ultimately a question of faith and not of science. There are no testable hypotheses concerning the Eucharist, at least, none testable by laboratory equipment. It’s apples and oranges.

  • nhthinker

    Many Democrats are obviously not ready for a Mormon President…

    But in all likelihood, they are going to get one in spite of their POV.

    I won’t be surprised if “not ready” really means “feeling entitled to riot” for many of those that are dead set against having a Mormon President.