Mitt Romney heads to Lynchburg tomorrow to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University. The school is set, geographically, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains but in terms of political geography, Liberty is Ground Zero for Romney’s election bid. Liberty University, begun in 1971 as Liberty Baptist College by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, is the largest evangelical university in the country. According to Liberty, they will confer some 14,000 degrees this spring, 60 percent of which will go to online students.
Throughout the primaries, the higher the percentage of white evangelical voters in a given state, the worse Romney did. Until all the other candidates dropped out of the race, Romney failed to win a single state in which white evangelicals were a majority of voters. In October 2011, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, Romney managed only a 40 percent favorability rating from white evangelical Protestants.