With voters focused intently on pocketbook issues, both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are framing their faith-outreach efforts around the economy as the presidential campaign enters its final weeks.
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That marks a shift from previous election cycles, campaign advisers say.
"That's a major difference between this election and the last. The economy is the single issue that transcends every demographic, every coalition, every interest group," said Mark DeMoss, an evangelical who has led Romney's efforts to rally conservative Christians - a key Republican voting bloc - around the GOP nominee, who is a Mormon.
"Evangelicals are no less interested in the unemployment rate and the cost of living than non-evangelicals," DeMoss added.
Those concerns are reflected in voter outreach efforts by religious conservatives, who are often associated almost exclusively with hot-button social issues related to sexual morality.
For example, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is led by longtime evangelical activist Ralph Reed, has a voter guide that lists tax cuts and a balanced budget amendment ahead of same-sex marriage and abortion.
Reed's group, a successor to his Christian Coalition, says it plans to distribute 40 million voter guides, knock on a million doors and make 15 million get-out-the-vote phone calls. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is also building a database of more than 17 million conservative religious voters.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Daniel Burke and David Gibson