When Mitt spoke at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University today, where he didn’t utter the word “Mormon,” the only standing ovation he got during his address was when he said that marriage is between one man and one woman. I don’t know that the comment would have generated a standing ovation if President Obama hadn’t just come out for gay marriage.
Before 1980, many Evangelicals didn’t vote. Their pastors told them that politics was sinful and to avoid it. Even now, their turnout is always in question. Will they show up? They turned out for Bush 43, whom they saw as one of them despite his High Episcopal Connecticut roots, for John McCain, not so much.
In this year’s primaries and caucuses, Evangelicals didn’t support Mitt. There’s been some concern about whether they will vote for a Mormon in November. Not that they’ll support Obama instead, ain’t gonna happen, but that they’ll stay home.
But Obama’s support for gay marriage may have done for Mitt what he hasn’t been able to do for himself. It may have gotten the Evangelicals enthusiastic about turning out.
Enough to change the result? We’ll see.