"There are some people for whom it will not be settled,'' the former Massachusetts governor told the Boston Globe recently. "That's just the nature of who we are as a people: A lot of people have differing views.''
Romney's strategy in the 2008 presidential race was to work for a first-place finish in the Iowa caucuses to make him a credible candidate. Instead, Gov. Mike Huckabee topped the field, running 30 percentage points ahead of Romney among the 60 percent of Republican caucus-goers who described themselves as Evangelical or born-again.
Many of Romney' advisers told the Globe he should put less effort into wooing social conservatives and more into emphasizing his management ability. They also hope that, if the U.S. economy remains weak, Republicans and voters generally will be less concerned about religion.
"People's prejudices change depending on the climate that the voting takes place in,'' said Ron Kaufman, one of his advisers. "People clearly have a different set of important issues on the table.''