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In yet another remarkable irony for the Christianist wing of the GOP, the candidate groomed to represent their views falls victim to religious bigotry among white evangelicals. And, yes, white evangelicals are more likely to be anti-Mormon bigots than white Catholics and non-evangelical Protestants:

The widespread perception that Mitt Romney is very religious would appear to be an asset for the former Massachusetts governor in his race for the Republican nomination: far more Republicans (44%) than either Democrats (26%) or independents (23%) completely agree that it is important for the president to have strong religious beliefs.

But the political benefit Romney receives from this perception is being offset by the concerns that some voters express about Mormonism. Overall, Romney is viewed favorably by 75% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters who offer an opinion of him. However, his favorability rating is much lower among Republican voters who say they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon than among those who have no reluctance about supporting a Mormon (54% vs. 82%).

A quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon. But among white Republican evangelical Protestants, 36% express reservations about voting for a Mormon. That compares with 21% of white Catholic Republican voters, and 16% of white non-evangelical Protestant Republicans.

I just can't see Romney winning the South as a Mormon. And the GOP is now the Dixie party. One of the consequences of basing your politics on sectarianism, as Bush and Rove have done, is that it limits your appeal to one sect, and all the baggage that comes with it.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty.)

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