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."