In a neck-and-neck race for the presidency, unique and unpredictable religious issues may produce subtle but significant shifts that could play a role in deciding the election between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Most important are evangelical Christians, one of the most powerful and reliable voting blocs in the Republican party. Many of them are unsettled by Romney’s Mormon faith.

Obama has turned many evangelicals off with his support for abortion rights and his new backing of same-sex marriage, which are anathema to Christian conservatives. Many fundamentalist Christians consider Romney’s religion a sect and not Christian.

Furthermore, Romney’s positions on certain social issues like abortion have shifted over the years, fueling doubts among some Republicans about his conservative convictions. He now says he opposes abortion.

The question, then, becomes will Christian conservatives go to the polls?

During the Republican primary race, many evangelicals voted for Romney’s more conservative rivals, including Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachman.

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