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. Ramse

    Well, Mor(m)ons do adhere to a wide array of racial ignorance for starters, so, it's not only the poorly educated that are hesitant. I mean, to believe that black people will only get in to heaven to serve white masters is a bit lewd, the claim that Native Americans are the descendants of the Jews whom were cast out of Judea even when proven that there is not genetic link whatsoever to the two groups. And I'm sure Americans are dying to know about the magical underwear, as is what do they do and where can I get a pair? Thankfully, Mitt Romney's religious views will not determine whether or not I will vote for him, all I have to do to determine that is evaluate his policy, and as it stands, his policy would be a return to the policies that devastated the US while Bush and Cheney were "runnin the show". I honestly can't see where anyone would assume Mitt Romney to be qualified for the Highest Office in the land, but that's just my personal opinion.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Mormons are lower level dingbats than are ordinary Christian dingbats.

      You would think this would discourage ordinary Christian dingbats, but it doesn't.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Save the dingbats! No, I mean, kill the dingbats!!! Shlt, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  3. El Flaco

    I think that Romney’s inner world is very strange. I am troubled at the thought of Romney as President.

    As a Liberal, who supports Obama even though Obama is a Centrist, I am observing Conservatives as an outsider.

    What I see happening is that Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have been given a very uncomfortable choice. They have to choose between a Black Christian Democrat and a White non-Christian Republican.

    What I see is that Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are White first, Conservative second, and Christian third.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • El Flaco

      What a clever post!!!

      June 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • El Fappo

      Way to congratulate myself! I knew that learning to type one-handed would come in... handy.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Rpmney et all.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      But with Romney, we could have many wives; his first act will e to make multiple wives legal. He has at least four wives to go with his four houses.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  4. Jeff in San Diego

    Doesn't matter to me. All candidates believe in some form of mumbo jumbo as as far as I'm concerned. Burning bushes or disappearing gold tablets – all the same BS to me.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • El Flaco

      So vote for Romney. He's the candidate who believes that Jesus was just another guy who happened to be King of the Earth. As such, He was Inferior to Smith.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      But Mormons have good s8x if you are a male. One nice thing about them don't yo think? Romney would alllow all of us to have many wives, and no caffein! What more could you ask of life?

      June 22, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  5. D-Nice

    There are so many other factors that make Romney unelectable, religion is not even in the top 10. Willard better hope his magic underwear work.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Well, what are all these "reasons?" Get busy. Here's as good a place as any. Or you can just wimp out and give us a pinko website.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Well, there is the fact that Romney is an un-electable creep!

      June 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  6. Craig

    Jeremy Jensen,

    "Tony, you're illustrating Mike A's point because of how full of it you are. The church has not ordered anyone to retreat from public discussion. On the contrary, they issued messages about 3 years ago telling members to become more engaged on the internet."

    3 years ago, BYU banned Facebook and Youtube for two semesters because they feared members would watching or hearing things that they should not. And after realizing their mistake, the lifted it. I know this, because I was there and angry at them.

    ""I fear for your family."

    I fear for your sanity. You seem to think that scary Mormon cultists are everywhere, monitoring our every move. Tell me when you reach the tinfoil hat stage. After all, it's only a matter of time before scary Mormon scientists start monitoring your thoughts via their Moroni-shaped space satellite."

    What Tony meant was, the church will slowly change the way your family operates. Don't believe me? Answer this. A church that claims to focus on family, how many hours do leaders at the church spend away from their own family? With PEC, Ward Council Mtg, church meeting etc, it is on average about 5 – 7 hours on a day that was reserved for family. It is even more if you are in the bishopric. Now that is not taking into account, hometeaching and visiting teaching hours where on average, each family is assigned to 8 families to visit per month (4 hometeaching and 4 visiting teaching). So tell me, you are spending over 75% of your free time that should be spent with your family...at church!!

    Plus, how does the church look upon a mother (who has a husband) who is educated and works full time while raising kids? Very poorly. I know this because I was in the Bishopric and Elder Quorum Presidencies in 4 different wards.

    This is why Tony said "I fear for your FAMILY". Unfortunately the church does not focus on families like it claims. You will know only after you get out. They are more concerned about using every strong families in the ward until they reach a breaking point, to maintain and increase their membership 🙂 Sadly you will only know this after you get out, if it is not too late.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      I like the part of Mormonism where angel Maroney says beam me up Jesus after he, or it, not sure what gender angels are–collected those golden tablets. Always admire the way Mormons can translate languages; put the book on top of your head and let old jesus do the work; so much better than language courses. Like the non caffein rule too; helps my seven up stock to keep rising. Besides Romney will allow all of us to have many wives and that is a good thing if you are a male. Think:if one or two wives have a headache or too much ironing, third . fourth and so on are still available. No wonder Romeny is so happy. Sad part is he has so many wives that his dog and children have to ride on top of his car.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  7. Star Performer

    Ditch Democracy!
    Healthiest Regards!

    June 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Free Reefer!

      June 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      Mormons are healthy. Have a lot of food in stock in case we are attacked by locusts again. Jimmy Carter was almos attacked by a big whit rabbit; could have been Joseph Smith in drag. Question for Mormons: how many wives, husbands can a gay person have? Any limits?

      June 22, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  8. namvet

    True Christians would never vote for a Mormon! Mormons do not believe that Jesus is God. They put Jesus on the same level as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and all former and current leaders of their cult.
    Anyone familiar with the Bible and what it says, could not accept Mormons (LDS) as a reputable faith.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Padraig

      Right, you let your "true" bigotry and racism prevail? You probably wouldn't vote for a Catholic because he was a Papist and the spiritual leader does not reside in this country.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Inglourious

      Jesus was not God until a number of years after his death - that is when he was declared by his followers to be divine.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • ReligiousIgnorance

      Whats a true Christian exactly? I wouldnt vote for Romney for the simple fact that anyone who believes they are on they're way to godhood and that Jesus and Lucifer are bro's is just nuckin futs to man. But it's not cause I think I'm a true Christian.I think the only true Christians are the ones that confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that He died and rose again. My authenticity is not contingent upon my voting record. Come on people!

      June 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • TawandaK9

      "I think the only true Christians are the ones that confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that He died and rose again."

      Then you believe Mormons are Christian.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Mormons cannot recite the Nicene creeed honestly. That ie the very definition of Christian.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      Could jesus translate the bible by putting it on his head? Just asking.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  9. Claire

    I wonder if many in this survey were against mormonism because of romney. They don't want him to be president. No one seems to mind or care that Harry Reid is a mormon.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • namvet

      Only those living in Nevada can vote for Reid. If I lived in Nevada I would not vote for him. I would not have voted for the Mormon Larry Craig of Idaho either. Craig was best known for his gay activities in a restroom.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Harry Reid, unlike Romney, is a decent human being.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Larry Craig of Idaho

      Once. One time. You stick your foot in someone else's stall one time and suddenly your labelled a deviant. I mean, really he was just asking a discreet question the easiest way he knew how. You're being too tough on him.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • El Flaco


      June 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Thank God for small favors.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      I would but Harry only has one house and one wife; Romney has four of each. And where will we put all of these in the white house? You want them sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom? He freed the slaves; or the Jefferson bedroom–he made a lot of slaves in that room. Mormons might be tainted with blackness from rubbing off; only two black people Mormons and Rubio is one of them.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:16 am |
  10. El Flaco

    I think Romney's motivation for seeking the Presidency is to fulfill the Mormon 'White Horse Prophecy' of Joseph Smith. Romney sees himself (I speculate) as the figure in Smith's prophecy who rides the White Horse to Washington and saves America.

    That explains why Romney has no stable political beliefs. He believes he is destined to be President because God wants it – not because he wants to implement Conservative social policies. He will be doing the will of God (Mormon version). So politics means nothing to Romney. Issues mean nothing to Romney. Romney believes he is guided by Destiny or God or Something to greatness.

    And – he believes – America will then turn to Mormonism as Joseph Smith's prophecy predicted. I think Romney sees himself as the Mormon Messiah. That is why political positions mean nothing to Romney.

    I think that Romney’s inner world is very strange. I am troubled at the thought of Romney as President.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      But you will be able to have many wives to sooth your troubled mind; Romney is going to make having multiple wives mandatory; how many white males will the Democrats have after that? If Romney comes with a supply of women for us, I am voting twice for him if not purged first by Republicans.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:20 am |
  11. Mark Yelka

    If you want the Mormon Prophet in Utah to have unimaginable control in the White House, vote for Romney.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Leeroy

      You mean like the Pope had over Kennedy? Sheesh.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Padraig

      In comparison to the crooked politicians from Illinois? Where is our President from? Oh yes, Ilinois....

      June 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • El Flaco

      99% of all Mormons will vote for Romeny!


      June 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Leeroy

      El Flaco . . . because Romney is clearly the best candidate . . . CLEARLY . . . regardless of his religion. He has far superior credentials then Obama and he has proven to be far more successful in his life then Obama has.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  12. ja-coffalotte

    Well, who in hell can believe the tall tale Joseph Smith told? Even worse than Immaculate Conception, sorry Joseph, somebody hit that.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Romney is crazy. He believes he is the Mormon Messiah who will convert America to Mormonism.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • TawandaK9

      El Flaco, where do you get this stuff?

      June 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • El Flako

      My invisible friends whisper secrets into my ear when I'm taking a crap.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  13. Syd

    Mormonism is no more whacked out than any other religion.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • ja-coffalotte

      True enough, the time has come to abandon the fairy tales, most come from misunderstanding of ancient alien visits.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  14. Chris

    I used to have a positive view of Mormons, then I listened to Mitt Romney.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      To my Mormon friends:

      Please wait for me to run to the fridge for a cold brewski and we'll discuss the proper consumption of alcohol for a Christian.....

      Ahhhh, I'm back with 12 cold delicious ounces of Bridgeport IPA.
      Floral and hoppy, delightfully complex.
      Smooth and satisfying (says so right on the bottle – i tested it – it's true).

      June 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Bridgeport IPA


      June 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • ja-coffalotte

      Big Bang is right, complex, fruity and luscious

      June 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Sure. He probably likes Rolling Rock too. When they say 'Pale Ale" they mean it. Looks the same going in or out.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  15. Robert/Tallahassee

    The Mormom religion is a very modern one (see: John Smith), based on.., questionable mores and values. There are truly moving tenets of the religion, but not enough to remove the slightly foul and oily taste of the facts: John Smith was a man of questionable character and background, the Mormons focus on money and wealth, and an entire faction of this religion justifies multiple wives... Yikes! I cannot take these people seriously. And any political candidate that openly touts his/her affiliation with such a sect.., well.., may they get what they deserve.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • TawandaK9

      Ummm... since you don't even know the founder of the Church's name was JOSEPH Smith, I don't think anyone needs to spend any more time listening to whatever else it is you have to say on the subject.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  16. James PDX Mostly Straight

    It's wrong to hate people just because their underwear is more magical than yours (but it's OK to quietly laugh at them).

    June 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • ja-coffalotte

      hahahahahhhahhaha, mormons, hahhahahahahhaha

      June 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  17. amazed2

    Who is that dude on their churches again? And Jesus in South America...... my Bible leaves that part out for whatever reason... and tell us all about the white lizard ceremony if you would......

    June 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  18. selfevolved

    I can't imagine there ever would be a well-qualified candidate who is Mormon. Mormonism is complete crazy, on par or exceeding Scientology. Anyone who is a Mormon is a few fries short of a happy meal.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      Yet he's been a businessman, a governor and now a presidential candidate.

      And -you- are sitting in your parent's basement.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • peter

      pull the finger–The man can't even have a cup of coffee because mormon god said no-Mormonism like liberalism is a mental illness

      June 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Pull My Finger


      Maybe Romney knows his bladder doesn't need the caffeine. Maybe he likes tea. Maybe he, like most 'believers' take what they want from religion and discard the rest. Something tells me that if Mitt really wanted a cappuccino he'd have one.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • peter

      Mormonism forbids the drinking of coffee-Romney in fact does not drink coffee-One thing the man never flip flopped on is his belief that the book of mormon is the word of God and that joeseph smith is his prophet.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      And you're afraid that he's going to mandate we all become members? Or that the U.S. strictly follows Mormon doctrine? What's he going to do, ban Starbucks?

      Get a freakin' life, peter.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  19. Curtis

    Oh, You hate Southernes, Christians, Rebublicans, and anyone opposed to your point of view? Tell me again how open minded and tolerant of diverse opinions you are.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Pull My Finger

      About as tolerant as urban progressive leftists.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  20. John Taylor

    Mormonism can’t sustain itself without its incredible wealth, being run like a corporate empire. Mormons are guilted into many things, including the New and Everlasting Covenant, which is eternal marriage in the Temple between a man and a woman. Without the performance of this ordnance, one is barred from the celestial kingdom and will become the servant for those who “made it.” For those who make it, worlds without number can they create, which includes giving birth to countless spirit children, born to exalted beings with physical bodies of flesh and bone.

    Mormons have not abandoned polygamy; it is doctrinal and practiced spiritually. A Mormon who tells you otherwise is a liar. One of the most visible examples of spiritual polygamy being practice today is Elder Dalen H. Oaks.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Jack Spitz

      Of course not: why do you think Romney has four houses? He wants to be president because he is running out of space to house his wives and thinks the White House would be a good place; Fdr hid several wives right in the WH and Romney knows it and is looking for all the hiding places. He knows old Joseph was killed by a jealous wife and does not want the same happening to him.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:30 am |
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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.