Second, turnout was so low that it's hard not to credit the sizable Mormon populations with some impact on the outcome. Even in the islands with tiny LDS communities, Mormons outnumber the people who participated in the vote. In Guam, only 207 people took part in the convention. There are 1,971 Mormons living on the island.
This is not to suggest a stitch up, but rather to note the surprising demographic strength of the LDS Church. Worldwide, its membership rocketed from 4 million in 1978 to 11 million members in 2000. In America, it has increased by about 30 percent since 1990. There is evidence that domestic growth has flat-lined, but heavy concentration in certain states has given it increased political clout.
Consider the importance of states with sizable Mormon populations to this year's primaries. Shortly after he won the Florida primary, Romney faced his first Western challenge in Nevada. Although he was always going to do well in The Silver State, a strong victory was necessary to prove that Florida wasn't a one off and he had momentum to carry him to victory in Michigan at the end of the month. Romney won Nevada with 50 percent. Importantly, turnout
was a dismal 32,894 -- well below the total Mormon population of the state,
at 174,662. According to CNN exit polls, a quarter of all participants were LDS members and 88 percent of them voted for Mitt. Nationwide, only 2 percent of Americans are Mormon.
One month later, there was Arizona. Arizona wasn't as important as Romney's home state of Michigan, which voted on the same day, but for a while Santorum was close to Romney in polls and it was vital that Mitt win the Arizona primary. He did so easily, by 47 percent. Turnout was 505,635. The local Mormon population is 381,235 and, according to CNN, 14 percent of voters were LDS members. Three days later came Washington state, which was, again, important for establishing Romney's credibility after a series of defeats by Santorum. Romney won with 38 percent on an appalling 1.4 percent turnout. The turnout equaled 50,764 Republicans -- in a state with a local Mormon population of 263,004. Romney has also won Idaho and Wyoming, both of which have high densities of LDS members (Idaho is the second most Mormon state in America, after Utah). It is surely significant that Mitt has yet to be truly tested in a Western state that doesn't have a significant population of Mormons. The only such challenge he has faced so far was in Colorado, which he lost 40 to 35 percent. Ergo, even if Mormons aren't directly responsible for Romney's Western victories, they have been critical to their scale and maintaining his campaign's momentum.
Much has been written about the role that Mormons have played in the 2012 race, but most of it has operated on a conceptual level. What might voters think of Romney's faith? How will Romney's beliefs influence his decision making? What has been less well studied is the precise impact of Mormon votes and communities on the primary outcome. Given their obvious significance in early Western votes and the way that they have helped add to Romney's delegate count in the Pacific islands, it's clear the extended Mormon family has delivered for Romney and proven itself to be a vital part of the Republican electoral process. If and when Romney sews up the nomination, their Haka may well be heard at the convention.