Last Updated: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:46 am (KSA) 07:46 am (GMT)

Danielle Angel: Tim Tebow, an evangelical candidate’s secret weapon

Tim Tebow might be out of the NFL playoffs, but his star power has not faded. (File photo)
Tim Tebow might be out of the NFL playoffs, but his star power has not faded. (File photo)

Tim Tebow is having a good year. Aside from a seven-game winning streak that revived his team, the Denver Broncos’, playoff dreams, Tebow landed multi-million dollar endorsement deals with brands including Nike and Jockey.

Now Republican presidential candidates are hoping to add their names to that list. Tebow, who recently made headlines for painting his face with his favorite Bible scripture, is a vocal evangelical Christian who may boost a sagging conservative campaign – such as Newt Gingrich’s or Rick Santorum’s – hoping to overcome Mitt Romney, the current frontrunner and presumed Republican presidential nominee.

Finding a way to undermine Romney’s momentum has taken on an air of urgency. South Carolina is the next voting venue, and will be the site of much media attention on Jan. 21. In addition, the state has a reputation for picking presidents: every candidate that has won the Republican primary in South Carolina since 1980 has gone on to be the GOP nominee. Evangelical candidates, especially Santorum, think Tim Tebow’s endorsement would be an enormous boost. The athlete is wildly popular among conservatives, and has an approval rating approaching 75 percent, according to Public Policy Polling. He even has a famous pose, called “Tebowing,” that is known and mimicked by fans across the political spectrum: He gets down on one knee and prays.

So far Tebow has declined to endorse any candidate, and even though his team is now out of the playoffs, having lost to the New England Patriots, his high-profile presence could help on the campaign trail.

(Danielle Angel is an intern in Al Arabiya’s Washington bureau. She can be reached at danielle.angel@mbc.net)

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