Bias against Mormon presidential candidate unchanged since 1967, poll finds
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is trying to become the first Mormon president.
June 21st, 2012
01:19 PM ET

Bias against Mormon presidential candidate unchanged since 1967, poll finds

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Bias against a Mormon presidential candidate hasn’t budged in 45 years, with 18% of Americans saying they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday.

The survey points up potential challenges for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is vying to be the first Mormon in the White House.

Gallup first asked Americans about support for a Mormon presidential candidate in 1967 when Romney’s father, George Romney, was running for president. That year, 17% of Americans said they would not vote for a well-qualified Mormon for president.

George Romney dropped out of the race after making a gaffe about the Vietnam War, and Richard Nixon won the GOP nomination in 1968.

The shaping of a candidate: A look at Mitt Romney's faith journey

“The stability of resistance to a Mormon presidential candidate over the past 45 years is an anomaly,” Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport wrote in a survey report, noting that “resistance to a candidate who is black, a woman, or Jewish has declined substantially over the same period of time.”

The survey also found that four in 10 Americans do not know that Romney is Mormon. Gallup found that those who know Romney is a Mormon are also the most likely to back the idea of a Mormon for president.

But the national learning curve on Romney's religion "suggests the possibility that as Romney's faith becomes better known this summer and fall, it could become more of a negative factor," Newport wrote in his report.

CNN Explains: What’s Mormonism?

"Those who resist the idea of a Mormon president will in theory become more likely to realize that Romney is a Mormon as the campaign unfolds," Newport wrote.

Bias against a Mormon candidate is significantly higher among Democrats and independents than among Republicans, Gallup found.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Twenty-four percent of Democrats and 18% of independents said they would not vote for a well-qualified Mormon who was nominated by their party, while 10% of Republicans expressed such opposition.

Resistance to a Mormon candidate was much higher among Americans with lower levels of education, with 23% of those without a high school diploma saying they would not support a well-qualified Mormon. Six percent of those with postgraduate education shared that view.

In his report, Newport said that it’s “unclear how the current level of resistance to the idea of voting for a Mormon presidential candidate will affect the election.”

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“History shows that these types of attitudes in and of themselves are not an impediment to victory,” Newport wrote, citing a 1960 poll that found 21% of Americans would not vote for a well-qualified Catholic candidate for the presidency.

Later that same year, John F. Kennedy won the White House.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an interview earlier this year, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land predicted that Romney’s Mormonism would become a bigger political challenge for the candidate - not because of anti-Mormon bias among evangelicals but because of that bias among independents.

Most evangelicals already “know what Mormonism believes and most of them are prepared to vote for Mitt Romney in a general election against Barack Obama in spite of his Mormonism,” said Land, public policy chief for the country’s largest evangelical denomination.

“The 40% of electorate that’s independent, most of them have no idea what Mormons believe,” Land said. “But they will all know what Mormons believe by the general election.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (2,017 Responses)
  1. Lea

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    May 11, 2013 at 7:14 am |
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    October 18, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Ralph Lepley

      Park Romney's Research Center (Mit's Cousin) reports that:
      1. Mormons reject The Trinity (Jesus is NOT God)
      2. Mormon men can become gods and women are eternally pregnant
      3. Mormons baptize for the dead to make everyone Mormon
      These by definition are cult views, not Christian views.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  3. World without Zionists

    Mormonism Origin: LIES
    Mormonism Present: BUSINESS
    (full stop)

    September 27, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  4. ronald dishinger

    In all my years (71) I never thought I would be saying such things: The Mormon belief system is based on the delusions of Joseph Smith.He was schizophrenic.He was as the saying goes"crazy as a bed-bug.In this day and age he would probably be hospitalized for quite some time. He said he had tablets that only he and God could read and that Joseph would tell the people what God was saying. First the entire family of Smiths were farmers who did not wish to really farm and stole many harvests from the families around them- they were chased out of one area to the next. When Joseph had his delusions they knew they had something to control the family destiny. Joseph never, ever produced any Tablets which the Mormons now call the "Book of Mormon." But they did have some followers and eventually came to Illinois and were involved in assination plots and killed some people they did not like. Along comes a follower by the name of Brigham Young, who Joseph told was to take over since Joseph was then in jail. Joseph and his brother were killed trying to escape jail. So Brigham Young took all the wrtings which were considerable by then and based as the True book of God. Before Joseph was killed Brigham Young went to foreign countries to try to get followers. Then Young back in the Illinois-Missouri territory the so-called Mormons were again pushed out. So you have delusions coming from a schizophrenic, the family as opportunists and took their son’s writings and had a good life because they controlled the writings. To this day if you ask a Mormon what the book of Mormon is they will tell you it is the extension of the Holy Bible given to Joseph Smith for all his followers in this new age. I once had a very good friend of some 32 years. We never spoke of his religious belief but one day I asked him how he could possibly believe in such a delusion- That was the total of our 32 years of so-called friendship. I tried and tried to point up logic and he said Joseph said thus and so. There are so many things that show in details Joseph Smith was a complete schizophrenic yet people believe in it. Mormons have belief that they are special chosen people and all non-Mormons need to be converted to Mormonism to be with God. There is no religious choice whatsoever- you are either a Mormon or you will burn in Hell regardless of your chosen faith- pure and simple. They have always been leary of someone saying anything about their belief system and will do anything to protect it- far worse than radical Islamist in many ways. So now your have a person who is running for president of the USA who is a devout Mormon and that scares me even more than his big money politics. Do you own research on Joseph Smith etc etc and the Book of Mormon and if you do not see in black and white type the delusions then you too might need some help spiritually. I do not care if someone is democrat, republican, independent or grass seed by labels but I very much care about freedom for all people, not me alone, but all people. I do hope you are Mormon regardless of republican, democrat, independent or grass seed , and if not then you will burn in Hell- that is not true and never has been. My name is Ronald Dishinger and my website is http://www.biochemimbal-behavior.com

    September 20, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  5. Sangju

    arj, I read through that tiemosre review, and I have to say that it's one of the most ignorant, ham-fisted reviews of a musical I've ever read. I'm imagining a review of State Fair that faults Rogers and Hammerstein for failing to accurately portray the nuances of agricultural and educational entertainment.danithew, I appreciate your second comment, because it tries to render a thoughtful opinion about the impact of the musical. Not so much your first comment, which seems to try to end the conversation by quoting a couple of scriptures. For my part, I don't curse God, but I don't have a big problem with people who do. Accountability is a two-way street. Personally, I have more respect for Jews who have a bone to pick with God over the holocaust than for people who shrug it off. Where much is given, much is expected, and if God wants to enjoy the privileges of being omnipotent and omniscient, then He'd better toughen up and learn to live with the fact that us puny mortals are going to give Him some flak every now and then. And there's nothing wrong with portraying puny mortals who actually do.

    September 7, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  6. Aprahem

    a cartoon chcarater is more competent than any Republican candidate, which includes Romney. Incompetence is not a charge that can accurately be brought against Mitt Romney. As for abortion, it is one of the key divisive issues between Republicans and Democrats. That is why I used it as an example. As a Democrat, you can make a reasoned argument against Romney's pro-life stance based on the issue itself. Given the evidence to the contrary, on the other hand, it is difficult to argue that Romney would not be a competent and successful head of the Executive Branch or that Mickey Mouse would be more competent. An argument exists, however, based on the evidence of his career, that Mitt Romney is the most competent to fill an executive role of any of the candidates, Republican or Democrat.

    September 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. Adam

    I read many comments on this thread. All the negative hateful comments directed toward Mormons are misguided and hateful. I am a Mormon and I believe in following Jesus Christ. We don't go around telling lies and hating those of other faiths. Jesus preached that we should love our enemies as ourselves. I invite all you haters to come unto Christ and find the true joy his gospel brings. If you want to know about Mormonism... Don't listen to those outside the faith because they are ignorant. Those who have left the faith or been excommunicated want to destroy the church because of thier own personal guilt. In my experience they are decietful liars who know in thier hearts the lies they tell.

    August 4, 2012 at 5:52 am |
    • AnnieR.


      August 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Ursula

      King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
      But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8

      The book of mormon
      ANOTHER testament
      It's accursed.

      King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
      Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.

      King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
      And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

      In the Name of Jesus get ye out from thence.

      September 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  8. chuckie

    The Mormon church is the embodiment of Satan on earth.

    July 17, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Firoz

      Mike“More Republicans as a percentage, voted for the Civil Rights Act” The Civil rghtis act was actually a Bi-partisan effort, the split was not along party lines but in regions, North and South. While it is true as a percentage more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act the ones that didn’t were from the South. Just as among the Democrats the ones who were against the CRA were from the south. After the signing of the CRA ,of which Barry Goldwater voted against, “Dixiecrats” started to move to the Republican party coerced by Richard Nixon’s southern strategy, which was to realign the southern states to red states. The Republicans went after the south and welcomed the ”Dixiecrats” with open arms and lost the majority of the Black vote. This strategy was continued by both Reagan and Bush. I will stop short of saying they used race to win elections, let’s just say it didn’t look good. This is the image the Republican party has to shake not just among Black voters you right it should be all inclusive. Yes MLK was a republican but I wonder if he would be one today.Black in America Baby……..the revolution has been televised

      July 30, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  9. M. Plumb

    The shrillness of hatred seen here makes me think of the influence that Satan has. Wouldn't Disciples of Christ love others as themselves? This hatred is a tool used again and again by the hypocrites that use Christ's name. The blind jealousy and deception used by people who profess a religious belief reminds me of those who crucified the Christ rather than those who followed him. How can we judge the hearts of individuals based on generalizations, bias, stereotypes etc.? Contention is of the Devil.

    July 11, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  10. shep

    Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. Learn why he was killed by a jealous husband. Oh yeah. He also had 12 wives

    June 30, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  11. SoldierOfConscience

    Did anyone hear

    1. Magic underwear
    2. baptisms of the dead

    anywhere else?

    Cult I say

    June 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  12. SoldierOfConscience

    Mormons are a cult

    June 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Raz

      What I'm reading here reminds me a lot of the things that were said about Al Smith when he ran for gov in NYS during the 20's and JFK in the 1960 election. Only put in the words 'pope', 'Catholic' and cult (okay you got a duplicate there). The klan marched for both these people and it looks like the dirty sheet crowd is going to be out again. Also since we are talking family......mmmmmm grand daddy with lots of wives or murdering mau mau popsie poo.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  13. AnnieR.

    to: cjay...."a little kindness would be appreciated???" GMAB!!....when i moved to SLC i knew NOTHING about mormons....was at a loss when asked "are you a latter day saint?? – never having heard that particular terminology before.....i never saw one iota of kindness from any mormon from the unfortunate day i arrived in slc to the day i left, five years later....my "sin" was in not being a mormon (god forbid!!)....i always promised myself that if i could ever escape, i would ****DANCE**** after i got across the border into another state, and as god is my witness – i rolled over the utah state line – and did just that!...ran around my car and screamed with laughter that my nightmare was over....i'm sure anyone seeing me right then would have assumed that i was recently released from an insane asylum – AND YOU KNOW WHAT ?? – THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT!!

    June 29, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  14. bcgirl

    Mormons own Chidlrens Hospitals several BIG TV stations/radio Time magazine and on and on..BIG business.this is only part of it. They believe ALL other religions (Christianity included) are an abomination to God. So no telling what will happen once Romney is in. yikes...

    June 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • AnnieR.

      To add: all of romney's money is either off-shore, or in switzerland....the only charity he gives is to the momon church....i SHUDDER to think of him in the white house, with his mormon cronies being given the most important jobs in the world......i have stated on another comment forum, that if given the opportunity, i'd like to ask ole mitt or his wife – what's the price of a pound of ground beef? – or a gallon of milk?....i doubt he'd even know what his car elevator cost him – OR the price of his wife's several cadillacs......they are not EVEN in touch with the working men and women who are the backbone of this country..and sometime, i'll say what i REALLY feel about him.......

      June 29, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  15. Ramona K Snead

    Annie R. Isn't far from wrong, Just like the world wide spread of Catholicism so have the Mormon spread. read the Book of Mormon. Read the BIBLE or a comparative (any number of the newer translations) of the Bible. They are not even on the " same planet". Central theme of Jesus born of virgin Mary, life and death, his resurrection and HIS promise of hope of eternal salvation. Mormons are not concerned about your immortal soul, as with most religions money drives them. Try to get in the Temple. Great rules for living plus a healthy diet won't get you there! I have lived in the "Mormon West" and know how clannish they are. Matt in NW God does have our back!!

    June 28, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • cjay

      You sound like someone who should take your own advice and read the Book of Mormon. The central theme of the Book of Mormon, as with the Bible, is that Jesus is the Christ, the only way to receive salvation. You are welcome to read and make your own decisions on the subject as we have all been given our agency, but it would be nice if you refrain from making false statements intended to misrepresent an organization that you happen to disagree with. Disagreeing is a choice you are welcome to make, but a little kindness would be appreciated.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Boylabo

      DKL, I think we need to stop thinking of the use of spctriure references or spctriure verses as a means used to end all discussion. That's negative view of spctriure and the role that it plays and also it leads to an exclusion of material that should inform or influence our views on all kinds of topics. I think the spctriures are probably where many discussions ought to begin or at least they ought to be considered an invaluable and necessary resource, if there are verses that can be considered applicable (and usually there are).Also I thought that responding to a Book of Mormon Musical with actual verses from the Book of Mormon made quite a bit of sense.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  16. .

    I am fourth generation mormon and my family has always tried to live the teachings of Jesus Christ. There have been no divorces for 4 generations. We are not rich, but I would say prosperous with no unemployment. Some of the 5th generation have diverged from the gospel and among those divorce, unemployment, drugs, and general unhappiness and misery is rampant. I can see in my own family the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not saying the mormon religion is the only church that teaches the gospel. I am sure that there are families among other religions that have experienced the same fruits, but I am saying that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and anyone who adheres to those teachings will see fruits of happiness, prosperity, peace and very probably good general health as a result.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • matt in nw

      Sounds like your 5th generation is dealing with actual reality.....Reality is that our 'leaders' sold the US out for a fast buck, your 5 th generation is the hardest hit by no jobs...no jobs = no money, no money = strife in marrages= devorce, all of this = depression, which leads to disillusionment and possible drug use. look for it to erode your generation as well.....

      you are about to find out just how real your god is.....

      June 28, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • .

      Well, Matt, I guess you will neve know. Will you?

      June 28, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • matt in nw

      My point was that you shouldnt be so harsh with your 5th gen (im assuming they re 20 somethings) – you can make all the right moves and, because theres 50 people just as qualified applying for work today, come up empty. Your generation is better insulated, already having jobs and such -but are no means immune....

      we are in uncharted territory today, we have an enemy (china) that has been granted special status in trade and has been allowed to manipulate their own currency and they are more capitalistic than we ever thought of being – they are beating us at our own game. The younger generation are now dealing with this reality... and god wont(cant) help us here.

      Mitt Romney is cut from the same cloth as the people who thought this was a good idea... and hes a member of a business cult that gets his allegence before the nation.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • bcgirl

      the question is 'QHICH' Jesus?? Not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Mormonism has all the right words, but 1Jn4:4 is so clear. Mornmons do NOT believe or follow the Jesus in the Bible.. Jesus the Christ rose again from the dead IN THE FLESH He was NOT a spirit. He never once said to wear special secret underwear upon marriage...like the Mormon church makes all their followers that marry in the Temple. The secret Temple ceremony. My undertsanding is that ANY that divulge exaclty what happens in the ceremony actually have to take a sort of suicide oath. Yikes...that is scary, but by then the culture of the church is so ingrained one definitely will not turn from it. IF someone does try afterwards to leave the church, they are excommunicated. So so so sad. I do believe many are so entrenched and really love God the Father they become blinded and do not plainly see what is wrong. One can not have true peace unless they truly have Jesus the risen Christ risen in the flesh, not the brother of Lucifer Jesus...sigh so sad. So deceived. Get a hold of the movie The GodMakers or any testimonies from people that have left the church (many of whom lives are in danger because they do tell the truth)

      June 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  17. alligatorob

    I am not a Mormon, but I lived in Utah for a long time in towns that were 90+% Mormon, and my wife is a Utah native with lots of Mormon relatives, so I know something about them. I cannot understand how anyone could believe what they do, it makes no sense to me. On the other hand I would never vote against anyone who was a Mormon and don't understand why anyone would.

    I also do not like Mitt Romney and will not be voting for him, but that has nothing to do with religion. I would hope that he loses because of his politics, I would be very disappointed if he loses because of his religion.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  18. AnnieR.

    Hilarious to read the comments on the wonderful mormons!....here's my story in a nutshell...husband-at-the-time went so slc with job change...bought a house in a mormon stronghold neighborhood...didn't even have our coats off upon arrival in our new home when doorbell rings...greeted by housewife from across the street – "i'm so&so....are you mormon??".....upon hearing "no", from that day forward, the MOMENT her henpecked husband stopped in the driveway to say "hi", our phone would start ringing with the request "tell henpecked to come home right now"....on christmas eve, the christmas lights all around the roof of our house were shot out; the christmas lights on the fir tree in the front yard were shot out; our house was smoke-bombed...daughter bullied out of brownies...son bullied out of boy scouts....that's a small sampling of the five-year nightmare before i left with my children......i could write a book about these people and the hell of living amongst bigots and hypocrites.....i've lived all over the world and these people are a breed of their own....a vote for romney? – SHEP HAS IT SOOOO RIGHT!

    June 28, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  19. robbyx

    Anyone who thinks Mormonism is a "Christian" religion needs to do his or her homework. Mormons are America's Taliban, following a complete fraud of a religion with not a single shred of evidence that anything the convicted criminal Joseph Smith said is true. Zero. Zilch. Nothing.

    What we do know is that after Joseph Smith was sent to prison for fraud (he claimed that he could find hidden treasure and bilked money out of land owners that way), he decided to perpetuate his greatest fraud, the creation of a religion. And who could challenge him? It's not like anyone could prove him wrong and send him to jail (again).

    Then there's that dressing up as Native Americans thing and slaughtering an entire wagon train and blaming it on the Native Americans. This is a religion with a very short, very duplicitous, and very morally bankrupt history. A Mormon President would be a disaster for our country. Their thirst for Armageddon is frightening. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

    Every American needs to learn about Mormonism from OBJECTIVE sources, NOT the Mormon church, before casting his or her vote. Don't think that Mormons are just another form of Christianity because they've borrowed Jesus.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • matt in nw

      The LDS church needs to be watched to be sure, they actively try to recruit the rich and powerful...with an amazing (alaming?) amount of success. Howard Hughes had a mormon entourage when he was desending into madness.

      Funny thing, They dont do alcohol, not supposed to swear, uphold family values ect.

      But when in positions of power they are every bit a brutal as any industrialist in history. Romney's dad ran AMC into the ground and lobbied to give the foreign car manufacturers equal standing with American car makers –just to try and break the UAW, in keeping with the mormon churches anti union stance.....real american of him. And heres his son, running for president .... will he represent the will of the people? or the will of his church?

      What does god need with money anyway? Why the 'struggle' to do gods work? ......

      there is no god..... the churches are a way to control the masses...to get the poor to vote against their own interests, and do what 'God' tells them- always through heard from the mouth of some clergy .

      long past time to Wake Up people.

      June 28, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • .

      Joseph Smith was tried several times on trumped up charges but was never convicted of anything because he was never guilty of anything. He was finally MURDERED because his enemies could not stop him in any other way! He was a pure lamb taken to the slaughter just like Jesus Christ!

      June 28, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • matt in nw

      @ .

      thats the official church line anyway. The truth is he was a con man. from 'Divining teasure' with rocks to polygamy – the anger came from people he duped and people that lost daughters to his religion – infact, nothing i can think will drive a man to violence faster than losing a daughter.

      religions rose and fell in that time period...why did angry mobs single out the mormons? it was Joseph Smiths cons. he couldnt write so he had others write down what he spoke...strange no others actually saw the tablets....Why the secrecy? ...what made this man special in any way?

      secrecy.....god wants us to have free will right? ...but god has a plan and is omniscient... which makes all the secrecy and prayer irrelivant because things will unfold according to The Plan anyway.......

      June 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • otherdavid

      I would like to be respectful to Robbyx but I can't. Robby is an idiot. You have been duped by the stupidest lies. It's difficult to even address your lunacy because it is so far out there. By the way...a quick check reveals Joseph Smith was never convicted of anything. Nada, zero. So your fraud etc... claims are rubbish.

      You claim that people should learn about mormons from objective sources and not the mormons??? Really?? If you qualify as an objective source people would hear lies instead of the truth. Mormons are not thirsting for armageddon or any of that other fear mongering rubbish. seriously...read a book or something

      June 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • robbyx

      otherdavid, pull your head out of your you-know-what and do a little research. Smith was a convicted liar and cheat. You simply don't want to face the fact that your religion is a bunch of BS cooked up by a convicted racist fraud and that there isn't a SINGLE SHRED of evidence that anything he said is true (golden tablets anyone? let's see them!). Deny all you want, but the FACTS show otherwise. Of course, since when do FACTS matter to religious fools???

      June 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
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