Romney courting Christian voters, Giuliani failing

A slew of stories relating to this topic.

First off, from Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani shares the lead for the conservative vote in the Republican presidential race, despite the New Yorker’s three marriages and moderate views on abortion, guns and gays.

Yet a close look suggests his support from the GOP’s potent right wing is less than meets the eye, according to recent Associated Press-Ipsos polls.

Conservatives, evangelical and born-again voters, and strongly loyal Republicans who back Giuliani tend to be less conservative, less religiously active and less supportive of President Bush than those favoring Fred Thompson, Giuliani’s chief rival so far, the surveys show.

That leaves Giuliani, the Republican front-runner, with a tenuous hold on the most intensely conservative voters long considered his party’s core.

So take the fact that Giuliani has weak support from evangelical voters. However, Mitt Romney is starting to garner some major support from Christian voters.

This from The Politico:

Mitt Romney plans to promise on Friday that as president he would convene a White House summit on ways to “strengthen the family, particularly in the inner city,” according to remarks released by his campaign.

That pledge bolsters Romney’s longtime vow that he and his wife, Ann, would make the reduction of out-of-wedlock births a focus of his administration. The agenda reflects an effort to tap into the changing priorities of religious conservatives. A CBS News poll of evangelicals released Thursday night found they were more concerned about poverty than abortion.

“It’s time to make out-of-wedlock births out of fashion again,” Romney’s text says.

I think this is Romney’s opening to capture some major evangelical voting blocks. Remember, Dobson said he disliked all the major Republican candidates except Romney, who he said was someone he was looking into and wasn’t inclined to write-off immediately.

Then still more from USAToday:

WASHINGTON — Somebody’s got to win the presidential straw poll this weekend at a gathering of Christian conservative luminaries and activists. The question is whether it will be “undecided” or an actual candidate.

Grumbling, ambivalence and talk of bolting to a third party have marked the weeks leading up to today’s “values voter” conference sponsored by the Family Research Council.

All the Republican presidential hopefuls are set to make personal appeals and, perhaps, prove themselves to a crowd that could top 2,500.

This will be interesting to watch and see who emerges as the evangelical’s Republican candidate.

Mike Huckabee could get a major boost:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is a Southern Baptist pastor and Christian conservative but hasn’t turned that into first-tier polling and fundraising. “Mike is strong on core social issues,” says FRC president Tony Perkins, but conservatives are critical of his tax record, and he “is not making it clear that he has a firm grip on the threat” of radical Islam.

My prediction is that either Mitt, Fred, or Huckabee will emerge and I’m leaning toward the first two.