The second time around, the shock has worn off. The prospect of a Mormon president appears to be less alien to South Carolina Republicans who are giving Mitt Romney a second look after his failed White House bid in 2008.

Still, worries about his faith persist in a state where one pastor jokes there are “more Baptists than people.” Voters preparing for the Jan. 21 presidential primary are weighing whether Romney’s religion should matter so much when they cannot pay their bills and a Democrat many distrust occupies the White House.

“Although Romney’s faith is still a matter of some discussion, it is less of a political problem for him than it was in 2008,” said Jim Guth, a political scientist at Furman University in Greenville, in South Carolina’s conservative upstate. “Most Republicans have a generally positive view of Romney, even evangelical Christians.”

Four years ago, the Romney campaign directly took on suspicion about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Conservative Christians, including Protestants and Roman Catholics, do not consider Mormons to be Christian, although Mormons strongly do.

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