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Evangelicals, Catholics may swing Iowa's vote

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 2nd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Iowa's religious faithful are a major political force in the state. Thirty percent of the registered voters there describe themselves as either evangelical or Catholic, and of the 57 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the caucuses this year were evangelical Christians. Many of the faithful here have their reservations for both incumbent President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Some Catholic voters in Dubuque remain split over issues such as abortion, funding for contraception and same-sex marriage. Many disagree on whether government-run social programs or private charity are the best ways to assist the less fortunate.

Dawn Luekin, a Catholic voter and member of St. Joseph the Worker parish in Dubuque is firm in her support of Romney. "(There are) the life issues which most Catholics hold dear and central to their faith, but then there's this belief that remains that the Democratic Party somehow cares for the poor better. I think it somehow comes down to that tension," she says. The top issues for her and her mother in the election are "life and sanctity of marriage" and both support Romney.

Another Catholic voter, who declined to give her name, admits she said it is hard to reconcile abortion with her religious beliefs but said she is supporting Obama. "I can't bring myself to just vote on that one issue."

It's important to remember that many of Iowa's evangelicals overwhelmingly supported Rick Santorum over Romney in the Iowa caucuses, helping Santorum squeeze out a slight victory in the final count.

Many evangelical Christians in Des Moines say they strongly support Romney, but express a general unease about his moderate history on social issues such as abortion.

"His (Romney's) past positions in terms of abortion or in terms of his record in Massachusetts -- it's not been an easy choice to make either way," Mwasi Mwamba said. Mwamba, who says he has no party affiliation and voted early.

Sheri Hess saying she has a "biblical worldview" plans to vote for Romney this year. She admits his record on social issues concerns her. "He's definitely not a Christian in my view," she said when asked if Romney's Mormon faith plays into her vote.

One evangelical voter, Mike Pike says he won't vote for either candidate and that he's not casting a ballot in a presidential election for the first time in his life. He says that the two non-negotiable issues for him are abortion and the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Obama and Romney, he said, have "failed on both of those." "What a person says and what they do, when they're two different things, I have to go by what they've done so therefore I can't support either candidate in this election."

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