Mr. Reed notes that in several opinion polls—NBC, Pew and ABC—the percentage of evangelicals claiming to support Mr. Romney has been in the mid-70s. “We estimate that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn’t vote in Ohio,” Mr. Reed says. “Obama carried the state by 260,000.” If that support of 70% or more holds for Mr. Romney in Ohio, and if the share of the evangelical vote increases by a point or two, then the challenger could carry the Buckeye State. …

Four years ago, evangelicals mainly supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. When John McCain became the nominee, he and the evangelical community never connected, and many evangelicals stayed home. This time they are in motion.

The president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A. Smith, says, “The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I’ve seen it in the last 12 years.” The driver of that intensity is religious liberty. “We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act,” he says. Evangelicals watched the Obama administration’s big public fight with Catholic hospitals and charities. What they concluded is that the health-care law was a direct threat to their own private outreach programs.