There has been alot of talk of the possibility of Mitt Romney winning in both Alabama and Mississippi. Recent polls show that he's ahead in Alabama and Misssippi. If he wins one or both states, Romney will destroy the myth that he can't win in the South:
If Romney were to win either Mississippi or Alabama -- and the polls show he is competitive in both -- he would kill the idea that he can't win in the South. The region is the rock-solid base of the Republican Party, and so far, the former Massachusetts governor has not shown strength here. Yes, he won Virginia, but Romney and Ron Paul were the only candidates on the ballot. And yes, he won in Florida, but most political analysts don't really consider Florida Southern anymore. And besides, Barack Obama won both states in 2008.
In addition, Romney has already lost contests in South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Adding Alabama and Mississippi to his list of losses would cement the narrative that he can't win in the South.
But winning either one -- squeaker, blowout, it doesn't matter -- would put that narrative to rest. "If he could win one, I think it would say he is a national candidate that people could embrace in the South," says Clemson University political scientist David Woodard, author of The New Southern Politics. "It would show that he has some appeal to Southerners that he didn't have earlier."
There's one demographic that might help Mitt Romney win Mississippi Alabama. Its the Catholic voter. In Michigan and Ohio, Catholics voted for the Mormon candidate rather support than the Catholic candidate in both. states. But then again, Rick Santorum has always performed lower among Catholics than Protestants.
Catholics in the South may not want to support Rick Santorum because he criticized J.F.K's famous address that he gave to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, about the role of his faith will play in his bid to become President. J.F.K was a trail blazer who made it possible and acceptable for other Catholic politicians to run for President and Rick Santorum fails to appreciate given the fact that in the early period of American history, many states passed religiously bigoted laws simply because the majority of Americans at that time believed that Catholics were not Christians.
Rick Santorum may have recently hurt himself in the South when a Florida pastor named Reverend O'Neal Dozier, who has endorsed Rick Santorum, wanted to ask Mitt Romney "to openly renounce his racist Mormon Religion." The troubling thing about this controversy is that it undermines Rick Santorum's claim that he is a strong defender of religious liberty.
In contrast, Mitt Romney has a very long history of defending religious liberty while working as governor of Massachusetts. For example, in 2005, Romney actually vetoed a bill that would have forced Massachusetts hospitals to offer abortive contraception. He also defended Catholic Charities in Massachusetts who being forced to compromise their religions principles in matters of adoptions by filling a bill to protect religious liberty called the An Act Protecting Religious Freedom. As a result of his defense of religious liberty in Massachusetts, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded him its prestigious Canterbury Medal in 2008. In January 2012, Five former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican endorsed Mitt Romney which is significant since they didn't endorse the Catholic candidate, Rick Santorum.
There are two things that Southerners care about: getting rid of Obama and preserving religious liberty. Mitt Romney is the man who can do both since he's the best candidate to beat Obama in the general election and has been a strong defender of all religious faiths including the Catholic faith.