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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. John the Historian

    Now how many mormon cult followers live on the planet kolob ?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Leeroy

      How many times have you been caught beating children?

      June 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  2. Our Future Is Bright as long as we Burn the Dark Age Ideologys.

    Is it okay to hate? Of course it is. What other emotion could you conjur when face to face with a serial child r a p i s t? Well Mormons, much like all organized religions, r a p e your mind with lie's about your need to protect some everliving soul and the only way to protect it is to buy into their belief system. And when I say 'buy' in I mean B U Y!!. Every single one of them will tell you that a test of your faith is how much you are willing to give to them. This is what I hate and will continue to hate until organized religion is utterly destroyed, which I believe is inevitable due to it's unstable ideology. It will become to big a liability and people will have to much access to facts to be misled forever.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  3. GOPlies

    You wait till the Kolobian's from Kolob come down and vaporize us all

    June 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • VanHagar

      No, I'm pretty sure Xenu's going to get us first.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      No, that's just the clap. Go get a shot.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  4. mike

    Stop messing with the morons, Rabbi Jesus is getting mad.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • John the Historian

      But mormons are not Christians. They are a cult.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  5. GOPlies

    I'm just bias against Romney and his unethical ideas of how to run this country

    June 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • John

      Then be sure to vote for the Great God King Obama. Obama has almost taken over the Judiciary AND the Legislative branches of government and will finish the job in the next term. All bow to the Great God King Obama.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • GOPlies

      Talk about simpletons john... You are the definition of one

      June 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  6. GenericMan

    There is always a bias, because people are taught ignorance.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  7. Joe

    Mormonism is a cult, and therefore any candidate who is a Mormon cannot be well-qualified.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • John

      And Joe is a simpleton. Romney is better qualified than the 3rd rate, never before employed knucklehead you put in office last time.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • GOPlies

      John none of us like Romney. It is ok we understand you don't have another option

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • John

      Well, then pull my thumb and vote. I don't care who people like you vote for, just get out and vote.

      Then remember that when your children and grand children are living in poverty.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  8. BleenGloob

    Mormons believed until they were forced to change in the 1980"s that people that did not have white skin were cursed by gawd. The mormon church spent millions of dollars defeating Prop * in Cali. If you really want an eye full, in Arizona, our sec'y of state is involved in: Families outraged at legislator's son's plea deal
    Assault penalty called too soft

    Robert Anglen The Arizona Republic Apr. 2, 2006 12:00 AM The son of Arizona's Senate president confessed that he and another counselor shoved broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 boys in at least 40 incidents at a youth camp in June.

    Now Yavapai County prosecutors say they will drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if 18-year-old Clifton Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

    A similar agreement has been offered to co-defendant Kyle Wheeler, 19, who faces an additional assault charge for choking three of the boys until they passed out.

    To finish reading the article go here, it is the Arizona Republic website: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0402bennett02.html?&wired

    June 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • John

      Yeah, Cadillac used to refuse to sell to blacks, too. Oh, and the US Military used to refuse to allow blacks to fight in combat. Oh, and the Baptist Churches in the South used to not allow blacks. Oh, and BleenGloob is a racist knucklehead.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • BleenGloob

      Racist? Are you another illiterate Mormon moron? This involves child molestation you big dummy.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • John

      Poor Simple BG, he/she/it is losing it.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • BleenGloob

      Johnny dear go read the cultist book of Moron. You might learn something since you know nothing now. Oh wait, sorry, you haven't learned how to read yet. My bad............

      June 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • John

      If you want to read something BG then go read something. I'll read what I want to read. No one cares what you think anyway, and that's the only reason you are so upset.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  9. WhackyWaco

    People of Mormon faith are highly ethical, caring, and have good work ethics.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • shep

      Because nothing says respect for women like a religion based on polygamy.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Hi

      or basically forcing them to wear body suits under their clothing

      June 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • BleenGloob

      Ok Mr. Jeffs, get back to tending your flock of child wives. Then have a nice Hawaiian Punch. Now wasn't that refreshing.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  10. wangfeihong

    romney is a Pagan

    June 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Hi

      Romney is a Mexican, oh er um excuse me an adopted son of the descendants of Lamanites.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  11. shep

    The Romney family fled from Utah to Mexico because they wouldn't give up polygamy. His father was born in Mexico. The Mormon messiah isn't even a real American.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • WhackyWaco

      Neither is Obama.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • John

      Obama's father had multiple wives. So did Obama's grandfather, and so did Obama's Great Grandfather.

      In fact, Romney's great grandfather had one wife fewer than Obama's great grandfather.

      Obama has a more vested interested in polygamy than Romney does.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • BleenGloob

      Really Johnny? Did you learn that on Faux Nooz with Bill Orally?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  12. Saywhatyoumean

    I don't care what faith or lack of faith a candidate identifies with, as long as they strive to represent THE PEOPLE and all the people, not just a select group. Government should be neutral when it comes to religion, it should not endorse nor persecute any faith or group because when it comes to religion in government – you're gonna tick someone off, so best to just be neutral.
    You want to put up The Ten Commandments, or a nativity or a statue of Buddha or a Hindu shrine or whatever on government property – just do it on your own property or church ok ? Stop trying to insert your religious dogma into our government. A statue of Buddha doesn't represent me and a cross doesn't represent a buddhist and NO religious symbol represents an atheist so let's just keep the symbols on our own properties please.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  13. John the Historian

    Mormons are just cult worshippers. Why can't non-mormons just walk around their temples after their services ? What are they hiding ? Non-Catholics can walk around the Vatican after services. I just don't trust mormon cult followers. We all know Jesus Christ did not preach to the American Indians. Then why are not American Indians in the majority mormon ? Warren Jeffs does think of himself as a true mormon no matter what Salt Lake City thinks.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Leeroy

      You can walk around our Temples. Just not in them once they have been closed to the general public. Many even have visitor centers and offer tours . . . as does the one in Salt Lake. This is yet another of many of the false claims about us Mormons.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • John

      JtH is just upset because he is the only member of his own personal cult. And that makes him/her/it mad.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  14. Boyd KKK Packer

    Please, PLEASE go to http://www.exmormon.org/ to learn the truth about the cult of mormonism. It is not true. It is a fraud. It has been proven genetically and archaeologically that the book of mormon is not and indeed can not be true.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Hi

      As an ex-mornon who served a mission I agree with Mr. Packer here. 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Dockthescot

      Boyd, do you realize how stupid you sound? Go to an anti web site to find out the truth!? If you wanted the truth wouldn't you o to the source? I am not a Mormon, but if I wanted to know more I would go to the source, not the site against it. Thank you for proving the fact presented in the article "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." if I wanted to learn about the Jewish faith, would I go to an anti-Jewish website? Duuuuuuuh, which way did he go George........

      June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Leeroy

      So, you're suggesting if I want to learn the truth about Fords, go to someone who hates Fords? That isn't very logical.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Craig

      LeeRoy, are you saying if I want to buy Ford, I should only believe words from Ford salesmen? Why are you so defensive about the anti-mormon websites. If you are confident about the religion, and believe the religion is true, then why are you insecure?

      I would say, visit Mormon.org and visit http://exmormon.org and make your own decision.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Craig, I just don't understand why anyone would want to go to a web-site that is devoted to bashing others. How could that possibly be a good place to go for information? I do view news on both Fox and CNN, even though it has been my experience that on takes a more liberal slant and the other is more conservative. I believe both are trying to tell the right story. But any anti anything website . . . that says it all. They are not trying to do anything but bash.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  15. Fig1024

    That's like saying we shouldn't have bias against Creationism in science because many people believe it.
    I'm sorry, but Mormonism is completely ridiculous. Bias against mormonism is just a sign of rational thought, which should be a good thing.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • MIke in Indy

      YES! Progress towards rational thinking is slow though, only up a point over that time span!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Leeroy

      I think that's the same thing the people said to Noah when he was building his ship. 😉

      June 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  16. disgustedvet

    As per usual,it is the most "liberal " and "progressive " amongst us who have the strongest bias. How can that be ?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • sam

      You again? Come on, you can't tell who here is liberal or conservative. You just like to imagine that everyone you disagree with is on the left. Stop being a malcontent.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • disgustedvet

      @sam: Learn to read between the lines.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      "imagine that everyone you disagree with is on the left."

      But what if....?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • shep

      Is it biased to call Nazi Germany evil? If it's a fact, it ain't bias. Enough political correctness.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Asepdede

      OK Matt B, I'll elaborate on my Mormon rytlaoy comment.As other commenters have pointed out, the policy can be waived with approval of top church leaders. This apparently occured with some frequency in the past (according to DavidH), and it may have even occured in the last few years, although it has perhaps been tighted up. Naturally, those who have access to these leaders will be more likely to have an opportunity to plead their case to someone in authority, and will be more likely to get a sympathetic hearing. Others (like Melissa) will likely never be able to talk to anybody above the level of a COB bureaucrat.I don't mean to suggest that there is an explicitly different policy for Mormon rytlaoy, only that there may well have been different de facto policies for those who are connected. That's just the way the world works.

      September 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  17. Canon

    Many here today would not make a very good spokespeople on what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe. Would you be part of a quick experiment with me? If you were put in a room with the following people- who would you want to meet and speak with first,second, third, fourth, and so forth. Please list them in order. Jimmer Fredette,Thurl Bailey,Glen Beck,Ken Jennings,Johnny Miller,Billy Casper,Cael Sanderson, David Archuleta, Donny Osmond,Marie Osmond,Gladys Knight, Jon Huntsman,Orrin Hatch,Harry Reid,Ty Detmer,Andy Reid,Lavell Edwards,Steve Young,Dale Murphy,Wally Joyner,Steven Covey,Clayton M. Christensen,J. Williard Marriott,Danny Ainge,Kyle Whittingham. Rank them 1-25 who you would like to meet and speak with in your order. After meeting all 25 people do you think you would come up with a commonality among all these people? Yes, they are all members of the same Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Would you still say the same things you said in your post to their faces or would you want to really know what they all believed in ahead of time so you would not be embarrased in your conversaitions. Please go to mormon.org and get better informed in case you meet any member in the future, famous or not.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • MeIsAwesome

      Yes, i would. The fact that they may or may not have done great deeds does not mean that they weren't members of a cult. Newton famously kept a stove going at all times so that he could practice alchemy. This does not take anything away from his brilliance as a physicist. However, he was still silly to pursue alchemy just as Mormons are silly to believe anything Joseph Smith said.

      Also, you may want to check your list of impressive people there. I'm not sure you want to include Glenn Beck when trying to convince people your religion isn't crazy.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Thad

      Sure I would. In my post I said that there are no Nephytes, and no Laminites. I said that Joseph Smith had wives that were under aged, and other husbands spouses.

      I said that you would not want to follow the morality of such a man, and that following the experience of a whole long culture made some sense, but to let a person that had already lied to you guide you in your morality was not a good thing.

      PS There is no DNA from the Middle East in our Native American population. How was that done!??

      Face facts, your parents made you a Mormon, and you haven't been able to see through it. Now, you are probably brainwashing your own children, UNQUESTIONINGLY, in the same lies you were taught. Meanwhile the leadership has made you all its POLITICAL ARM.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Canon

      Bravely spoken Mels and Thad. I said to their faces not behind some anonymous name on a web-blog. You would have very short conversations in a room with these type of people included. Glenn Beck....I'll give you a pass on him too.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • TV Sports Dir

      Uh, mass belief does not make something true. Consider that back in the 15th century, everyone on the planet thought the Earth was flat. And to this point in history, there is not a thread of empirical evidence proving the existence of the "God of Abraham."

      June 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • hi

      Didn't go to part of my son's college graduation because beck spoke.please,.....have had first hand experience with the cults and they called themselves family .no way I would vote to Romney.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • JK

      I've never heard of most of those people, but the names I do recognize do not bring any reaction of respect from me. I agree that one's deeds in the world do not necessarily reflect one's religion, but I don't think we need gullible people running our country, and most of the beliefs of Mormons require a certain degree of gullibility, including believing that only Mormons go to heaven and that, if they give their church enough money, they will go run (become gods on) another planet when they die, as do the Mormons.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  18. shep

    Do a wiki search on the White Horse Prophecy. Mitt Romney has big plans for America.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • disgustedvet

      As strong as "the Dreams Of My Father " ?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Everyone wants a theocracy. Mormons, Muslims, Lutherans, your mother's Tuesday night bridge group. Whatever. Go build your underground apocalypse shelter. Make sure you have plenty of rice. And a port-o-pot. Don't forget paper.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  19. Thad

    When a culture tries to get there morality by long experience through a history of a real people like in the case of mainstream Christianity with the history of the Jews then that experience informs the morality. .

    When a small group gets its morality from completely fabricated cultures like the Mormons do with the "Nephytes" and the "Laminites" which were invented by one man in order to fool a very small and uneducated group of settlers, then anything the writer of this fiction says becomes the morality.

    There are no Nephyte ruins, there are no Laminite ruins! Nothing, despite the claim that these populations were actually larger than the Aztecs or the Mayans. It is all just made up!

    And to get moral direction from such a man.....Oh my! This man "married" (if you want to sully that word) 34 women, including other men's wives and young girls ALL BASED UPON HIS POSITION AS A PROPHET. This is nasty stuff.

    Can you imagine that Romney never questions this, and now (even though this church is obviously as political as they come) HE DOESN"T EVEN WANT TO DISCUSS IT.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Leeroy

      There is no discussion with you. Your mind is set. Why would he waste his time?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • wlv

      I wouldn't want to discuss it either with anyone whose spelling demonstrates such ignorance of the faith in the first place. The correct spelling is "Nephites" and "Lamanites".

      Part of your problem with Mormonism is probably sheer ignorance.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Thad

      I am sorry to let you know Leeroy that when a "church" becomes a political organization like the Mormons have become, reaching out into politics their belief system becomes part of the debate.

      There still are NO NEPHYTE ruins Leeroy. Would you like to show me one on google maps? Please POINT IT OUT....we are all waiting!

      If that belief system is so indefensible that it becomes a liability for the candidate, then it is just a simpering cowering strategy for the candidate to ACT AS THOUGH IT ISN'T RELEVANT, though he gives millions to his faith, and hope that the 99% of us that want real history behind our faith, and not just a made up fictional novel, ...will just forget that these beliefs AFFECT THE CANDIDATES POLICY DECISIONS. (or ...perhaps he is using you guys too, which is it?)
      '

      June 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Thad, you continue to make my point crystal clear. Thank you. 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Thad

      HI wlv.

      So I have a spelling error. Well caught. Thank God there are people like you to make sure that bad spellers are not allowed in the public debate.

      On the other hand, unlike Joseph Smith, I have not found it necessary to completely mis-translate an entire book like he did with your Book of Abraham.

      Can you imagine anyone gullible enough to believe that the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ABRAHAM ...was completely missed by the Jews for thousands of years, but just happened to land in the lap of the local charlatan.

      Now that Egyptologists have translated the original and found it to be the Book of Breathings, perhaps you can swing by one of their web sites and correct their spelling too.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • wlv

      Thad ... I was just pointing out the spelling errors because it is crystal clear to me that these "thoughts" you're posting are not your own. You've lifted them from some anti-LDS site or from someone else. It's frankly disappointing when people don't do their own research.

      Yes, I'm LDS. And yes, I adhere to the faith and its doctrines. And yes, you cannot prove every facet of it, any more than you can prove that there was a flood (where's the Ark, Thad?), a resurrection (where's the cross, the linen, etc?), an Exodus (where are the stone tablets?). Do you buy off on the story of God speaking through a burning bush? How about making water gush out of solid rock? What about the story of Elisha trash-talking people into pouring water onto burnt offerings, then God sending fire down to dry up the water and still allowing them to burn?

      There was a reason Jesus chided people who sought after signs as "adulterous". You and I can have discussions on haplotypes of Native Americans all day long, and, as Leeroy said, you still won't be convinced. But it is interesting that you probably have no problem accepting the almost unbelievable stories you read in the Bible (I also accept them), but you chide them if they come from the Book of Mormon.

      In America, we call that religious bigotry.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Yeah Thad . . . what "wlv? said. BOOM! 😉

      June 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  20. max

    The Mormon church has their own set of Articles of Faith. The 11th article states "We claim the priviledge of worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. We allow all man the same priviledge. Let them worship HOW, WHERE or WHAT they may? Perfectly cool. Mormon people are awesome people. No one is forced into their religion. Try sitting back and compare our similarities. Don't blink.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Hi

      "Mormon people are awesome" I'll bet you $10,000 max is a Mormon. Oh excuse me max, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 11th article of faith. Heh. As an ex-mormon who served a mission, I can see right through you max.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • wlv

      Hi, Hi. As a current Mormon who served a mission, I can tell you had a probably hard, almost impossible, time keeping the commandments. People generally leave the faith because they just weren't strong enough to live the teachings.

      I can see right through you, also.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.