Mormon Church President Hinckley Dead at 97
Gordon B. Hinckley, the Mormon church’s oldest president at 97, died Sunday. His death comes at an inopportune time for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in that it will likely result in renewed media and blogosphere interest in the former Massachusetts governor’s faith during the week leading up to the Super Tuesday primaries Feb. 5.
Reporters and bloggers who follow the path I took this morning will conduct a quick Google News search of the terms Hinckley and Romney and find the first result in the form of a Salt Lake Tribune article. While perusing the article, they might notice one or more links to articles in the left sidebar of the Utah newspaper — links such as this one:
Or they might simply search the news for “Hinckley” and find an AFP article that contains these paragraphs about Romney:
In recent months, the church has come under the public spotlight owing to the fact that leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is a member.
Some polls have suggested that upward of 20 percent of the American electorate would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate because of religious differences.
Any way you slice it, the LDS Church leader’s death — and the media coverage that spills onto the issue of Romney’s faith — stands to alter Super Tuesday outcomes in a big way, perhaps offering Romney a bump in the form of sympathy votes. We’ll see.