While Christie has opposed abortion rights for 20 years and opposes gay marriage, he said in 2011 that his Roman Catholic faith “does not rule who I am.” He also has said homosexuality is not a sin and that he believes people who are gay are “born with a predisposition.”

Those are statements could haunt him in a state where the past two caucus winners, Santorum and Huckabee, closely aligned themselves with Iowa’s evangelical pastors and Christian home-school network.

“It’s going to be tough for him here,” said Justin Arnold, a Republican campaign and policy strategist in Iowa. “There’s an image of him as a moderate.”…

“Republicans are not going to win a national election unless voters have an emotional attachment to our candidate,” said Boeyink, who would be expected to play a key role in Iowa for Christie. “Chris Christie has that ability.”