This year’s Republican Primaries have been different in so many ways: the weak field, the shifting anti-Romney front runners, the large number of debates, etc. The other big distinction has been the focus on religion and religious values. Sure, Romney’s Mormonism did get a lot of attention the last time and certainly did influence the outcome, but now, as the front runner, the patterns have emerged.

Rick Santorum, as the final, anti-Romney candidate is the beneficiary of the Anti-Mormon vote. The Anti-Mormon vote tends to be defined as those who identify themselves as white, evangelical or “born-again” voters. These are the people who are staunchly conservative on social issues and are typically misinformed about Mormonism.    All they tend to know about Mormonism is what they learn at Church from their pastors and/or the gaggle of professional Anti-Mormons who make their living touring the country warning evangelicals about the dangers and false doctrine of the Mormons.

The irony, of course, is there are no two groups of voters who line up so closely on social issues as evangelicals and Mormons.  And to be such committed Republicans.

So, while Santorum as tended to capture the Anti-Mormon voter, surprisingly, he does not capture the majority of the Catholic vote, his religious background, except in Tennessee. Mitt Romney has largely done that. Some evangelicals have the same problem with Catholics they do with Mormons. On the other hand, Romney has received the vast majority of the Mormon vote in places where Mormons have substantial numbers like Arizona and Idaho.

Granted, all of this data is based on exit polling and in some cases, is skewed by a primary win such as Georgia, where Gingrich won by such a large margin and captured many of the votes of defined groups.

So, while it appears that Romney will eventually achieve the nomination, what will happen in the general? Clearly, these Anti-Mormon voters must despise Obama more than they are Anti-Mormon, right? And I cannot see a third party candidate doing anything but handing the election to Obama, so what is a born-again to do?

Some might say that the Romney nomination is not a foregone conclusion and that might be true. But, anyone but Romney out of the current field is a losing proposition as well.