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The faith factor: Religion's new prominence in campaign 2012

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Pollster Scott Rasmussen says 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama in 2008, while recent polling shows him getting just 35 percent of the Catholic vote if he runs against Romney this year.

"They either don't like government medicine, or they think the Obama administration wants to pick a fight with the church," observes Mr. Rasmussen.

As religious groups together raised the religious liberties flag over the birth control insurance mandate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told an audience at the February Conservative Political Action Conference: "In many ways, thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now."

Churches have responded, some fiercely, to the contraceptive insurance mandate, warning that such a state encroachment on fundamental liberties sets a bad precedent: Swing at Catholics today, your own beliefs may be teed up tomorrow. And they wonder what is to be gained. While the left struggles to reframe the issue as one of women's rights, the right points out that birth control products are available easily and relatively cheaply without anyone's conscience rights being impinged.

Southern Baptists disagree with the Catholic Church on birth control but support the conscience concerns about religious liberties.

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