Rick Perry’s Latest TV Ad Appeals to Religious Voters

BY Terence Burlij  December 7, 2011 at 1:09 PM EST

Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a new television ad Wednesday aimed at courting socially conservative voters, a key voting bloc in next month’s Iowa caucuses.

In the 30-second spot, entitled “Strong,” Perry accuses President Obama of launching a “war on religion.”

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry begins.

The Texas governor closes with the line, “Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

The “Strong” spot is the second in as many weeks seeking to highlight the candidate’s religious beliefs. Last Friday, Perry’s campaign went up with an ad in Iowa called

“Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well they’re wrong. I think we all need God’s help,” Perry said in that ad. “America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, strong values. That makes for a strong America.”

In the most recent Iowa poll performed by The Des Moines Register, 46 percent of likely caucus-goers responded they were “very conservative” on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Another 18 percent said they were “mostly conservative.”

Perry’s current media blitz is clearly aimed at those voters, whose support he will need if he is going to improve on his 11 percent mark in the polls, which leaves him currently in fourth place.

The strategy has worked before, as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses with strong support from social conservatives.

Huckabee even went so far as to release an ad in the middle of December 2007 wishing people “a magnificent Christmas season.”

Could a “Merry Christmas” ad from Perry be next?