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Religious Politics in Western Virginia


I'm in Blacksburg to give a talk at Virginia Tech on why evangelicals and Mormons have become twin pillars of the GOP, but the sense out here is that the evangelical pillar may not be as robust as it was four years ago.

That's according to my hosts Ben Sax, who teaches Jewish Studies, and Matt Gabriele, a medieval historian who also sits on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors. To be sure, last time around Montgomery County went for Barack Obama over John McCain 52 percent to 47 percent. But it was an island of blue in a sea of red in this part of the commonwealth.

What Ben and Matt are seeing are a lot fewer Romney signs dotting the landscape than there were McCain signs in 2008. Not that they expect Obama's numbers to go up. Rather they see evangelicals staying at home or looking for a third-party alternative.  

Emblematic is the man who complained to Ben that there were "no Christians" on the Democratic and Republican tickets--as in the Catholics Biden and Ryan, the Mormon Romney, and the Muslim Obama.

"Well," said Ben. "There's always the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. She's Jewish." 

"Jewish?" the man responded. "OK then. I'll vote for her."

Topics: Politics, Election


  1. I am not sure how meaningful a yard sign impression is. Here in Washington State, my Romney yard sign was stolen, and when I got a replacement, it has twice been pulled out of the ground. Someone who supports Obama is committing trespass and violating a law that makes messing with campaign signs a significant misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine.

    At the county caucus meetings, back during primary season, Romney dominated the field, getting a clear majority even while Santorum and Gingrich were still considered viable candidates in other states.  I have not seen any indication that any Republican voter in Washington has a problem with Romney as a Mormon.  And no conservative us sittingg out the eletion, since same sex marriage is one of the referenda issues.

  2. Interesting…I’m sure you have proof that it’s a President Obama supporter.  They are the only people in the entire United States who could possibly want to mess with your Romney signs.

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