For political consultants at least three bits of useful information came from an August survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public life. The survey showed that Hillary Clinton has to convince voters she's religious; Rudy Giuliani has to keep Republican voters from learning that he's pro-choice; and Mitt Romney has to convince voters not to worry about his Mormonism.
Voters like candidates to have some religion. Forty percent of Republicans who think Hillary is religious have a favorable view of her, but only 8% who don't think she's religious have a favorable view. Among Democrats, 90% of those who say she is religious have a favorable view. Among those who say she is not religious, only 62% have a positive view. The bad news for Hillary: nearly a third of all voters don't think she's religious at all, the highest number among all candidates, although Giuliani isn't far behind at 23%.
Mitt Romney doesn't have to worry about appearing religious. He's seen as the most religious candidate. Unfortunately for him it's the wrong religion. A quarter of Republicans and Republican leaners said they'd be unwilling to vote for a Mormon.
The survey also revealed that most Americans don't know that Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice. The issue isn't at the top of the political agenda this year, but among the same base voters that are unlikely to vote for Romney, abortion is still a potent election issue. According to the Pew survey a majority (56%) of white evangelical Protestants still rate social issues like abortion and gay marriage as "very important in their voting decisions."