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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. loverpoint

    Why do I not trust Mormons. They have a reputation of befriending elderly people and having them sign over their wealth to the LDS church. It were Mormons who claimed to befriend Howard Hughes and surround him by what people called "THE MORMON MAFIA" These thugs ran roughshod over all of Hughes business dealings. When he died they even went so far as to proclaim they had the WILL of Howard Hughes. It was later determined that the will was a fraud. I always wonder how many times they have strong armed people to leave their inheritance to the Mormon Church because they showed up at these peoples doors during the final years or days of their lives for one purpose and that was to latch onto them like leeches and suck the wealth out of them.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • not soooooo

      The Kool-aid some of you people drink.... We have the most baptisms in third world countries. I guess we must go after the rich to take care of the poor... it's the DEMOCRATic way.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  2. cathy

    And George Romney was a good guy. Mitt is no George Romney

    June 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  3. Jack Watcher

    What is missing from this thread is any Mormon offering any argument to those posting negative comments about their cult. All we see is name calling and irrationality. I suppose that is what we can expect from followers of this extreme cult. One of their posters, Dan, called me names for suggesting that the goal of their religion is taking over the government but later in the thread he says that they will indeed control the world. Hey Dan, read up on your religion, it's history, and it's stated goals. It's all there Bubba.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  4. nc1965

    Article: 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.

    And this is exactly why Mitt doesn't want to talk about his faith.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  5. Dan

    How about a really unqualified Mormon?

    June 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Colin

    As an atheist watching Christian and Mormons squabble over non-existent supernatural beings, it's like a parent watching young children in the yard squabble over whose teddy bear can beat up whose. Silly childish nonsense. Unfortunately they are grown adults.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  7. Geraldo

    anti mormonism led by CNN

    June 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Daleb

      that is absurd silly person. It is anti-romneyism led by CNN.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  8. adrifter

    This story raises a good question. When should someone's religious beliefs become a factor if that person is running for elected office? Some people might say that religion should never be considered. Does that apply to someone who worships the Greek gods? I think a person's religious beliefs should be used to judge the person's rationality and common sense. Most people are born into a certain religion and may loosely follow that religion for cultural and family reasons. That's fine. I see a problem when someone appears to actually believe the tenets of a religion, whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Mormonism. They are all a bit wacky. So for Mitt Romney to be an apparently devoted Mormon worries me. Barack Obama does not appear to be as religiously inclined. That's a positive. While all religions have their crazy side, Mormonism is a unique case. It is basically an Americanized version of Christianity. Most religions are based on ancient myths. Mormonism is the pure invention of one or two people less than 200 years ago. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude. That's what I believe.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  9. achepotlex

    Now, if only the bias would spread against all other rettarded fairy tales, humanity might start to progress.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  10. Jack Watcher

    As typical of the Mormons I discuss their cult with, most of the cults apologists that are posting here do not address the questions that are asked of them. They, instead, tell us what great people they are and how they will help out in an emergency. Yes, they will help out their fellow cult members but us non-believers can wait. I think it's time the voters in this country took a long look at the Mormons and their conspiracy to take over our government. They started with Mittens dad and are trying again. They already run the state of Utah to the extent that many laws there go un-enforced. C'mon America, wake up to the threat of this cult.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Dan

      On what planet were you born, and from what misguided source did you obtain your falsehoods?

      June 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • slick

      Any specific reference there, for any of your claims, or just a load of personal general bias? You sound more like the one lobbing generalities in there, and you don't say you're a good person to top it off... at least the Mormons say that much! Lol

      June 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • not soooooo

      They stuff you are taking must be illegal.... My husband and my sons have traveled hundreds of miles to help people of all faith simply build their homes after hurricane Charlie in Florida and they went to Lousianna after Katrina. They slept on sleeping bags in the gym of the local church and spent all their own money to do this we make $60,000 a year. Go on LDS.org and look under all the service that is given to others. You have no idea what you are talking about. STOP THE HATE. We don't hate you because your NOT mormon.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • sbp

      Why are you so concerned with the Mormons TRYING to take over our government, but not concerned that Christians ALREADY HAVE? I mean, EVERY President to date has been Christian. Virtually every Senator and Congressman. How is THAT not a conspiracy?

      June 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  11. travis

    you're a fool

    June 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Jack Watcher

      Travis, my brother, how about offering up an argument to what I am saying rather than just calling me a fool. Name calling is seen as the refuge of a person who has no argument. You say you are not a mormon so I presume you have never studied their writings. I have and can argue their nonsense until the cows come home. So, let's go Travis, give me a cogent and coherent argument in defense of you position. Otherwise I think we will all see who the real fool is.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  12. Jeb

    Mormons believe:

    Jesus and Satan are brothers.
    God is a flesh and blood man who lives on the planet Kolob.
    The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.
    Black people are an inferior race that can't go to heaven.
    Mormon's must wear magic underwear at all times to protect them.
    Mormon's eventually become God's who rule over their own planets.

    The list of crazy beliefs goes on and on........

    June 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • not soooooo

      Jesus and Satan are brothers.
      Why don't you explain who Satan is and where did he come from?
      God is a flesh and blood man who lives on the planet Kolob.
      What is God made out of?
      The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.
      Where is the Garden of Eden
      Black people are an inferior race that can't go to heaven.
      Totally FALSE
      Mormon's must wear magic underwear at all times to protect them.
      Again FALSE
      Mormon's eventually become God's who rule over their own planets.
      Well what happens when we die??? Do we play harps for eternity???

      June 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Jeb

      not soooooo

      There you have it folks.

      Wackos one and all.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Dan

      How is that so? Not soooo made you look like an idiot, and now she is wacko? You are just like one of those telemarkers with the prepared scripts. Once someone forces you off script, all you can do is hang up.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • slick

      Yeah, said the liar...

      June 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  13. Krappie Kolob

    Well, hie me to Kolob! I had no idea that people didn't like my magic underpants and krappy Kolob kool-aid!

    June 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  14. Jeb

    Mormonism is a crazy cult who's goal is to run the country.

    Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both called for members of the Mormon cult to infiltrate and take over the federal government at every level.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Dan

      Mwahaha...soon, we will rule...the world!!!

      June 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • not soooooo

      Hey Dan how is your world take over coming! Hmmm maybe its our Mormons helping hands program rebuilding homes from Katriina and other world disasters, feeding the poor and trying to live our lives like Christ. Most be that evil song we sing, what is it called.... Oh I know, Love One Another, as I have loved you. By this shall men know ye are my disciples if ye have loved one to another. I think there might actually be a scripture in the New Testament that goes along with it?

      June 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Jeb

      not soooooo

      When Mormon's lend a helping hand, it's just one of their recruiting methods.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Dan

      Jeb, sadly you have been blinded by conspiracy, and fail to see reality. Find me one legitimate news article showing any Mormon Helping Hands members trying to recruit members. I'll save you some time: you won't.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  15. Jack Watcher

    I freely admit that I am anti- mormon. If they tried to start their "religion" today they would be arrested. I have a few questions for my Mormon friends. Was your founder wrong when he put in the multiple wives deal or are the modern mormons wrong for throwing it out? Or did you really throw it out? I see a lot of news about 'sister wife's in your church. Second questtion: please explain how the Jews that were supposedly here in America, and whose presense is a foundation of your religion, managed to change their DNA type to that of native Americans. I have many more such questions about your cult but the night is growing short. As is Mittens Romneys chance to be president of our great country. More and more people are becoming aware of your cults attempt to take over this country like you did the state of Utah.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • travis

      you dont know the mormon faith, you speak poison thats incorrect and not true, although im not a mormon follower, i will stand up for them...you clearly are an idiot whe drinks the govenment kool aid....go to hell fool...

      June 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      travis, what can you say in defense of Mormons and their beliefs? Be specific.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • travis

      they're genuinely good people, i don't support romney, wouldn't vote for them, they're beliefs are weird, but are caring people and would help anybody, romney coudnt be worse than bush, or obama...

      June 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      THAT'S ALL YOU'VE GOT??

      June 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • slick

      What do you got Tommy boy? Easy to go after someone without saying what you bring to the table...

      June 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, sweetie, don't you know? I don't have the onus of proof; you do. You made the claim, you're on deck. Get to it, sailor boy! Tote that barge! Lift that bale!

      June 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • slick

      I must have missed the claim I made... why don't you reach into your bag of tricks and quote my claim for me? Thanks Tommy!

      June 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • LMB

      Since you asked – here are the answers to your questions 1. Joseph Smith received a revelation from God to preach and practice plural marriage (likely because the so called Christians of the day were murdering many Mormon men, leaving countless widows with many children and no means of support). Polygamy was only practiced by 17% of the members, as it was not mandatory. It was completely outlawed by the Church in 1890 when the then prophet received another revelation from God declaring that the practice of polygamy was to end (as it was no longer needed – perhaps the other Christians got tired of murdering Mormon men). After 1890 anybody practicing polygamy was excommunicated and was no longer a member of the Church. Some, started their own Church which has no affiliation whatsoever with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Official name of the Church). As for precedent – the very looked up to prophet Abraham was a polygamist with the obvious approval of God, given his preeminence in the Jewdeuo-Christian religions.
      2 .As for your DNA question – that is the flavor of the month question. In due time God will prove that Some of the South and North American natives will be able to trace their origins from the Jews. Time is not yet, it's in God's hands. Remember, God allowed us ignorant humans to believe that the world was flat for may centuries, until the time was right for more information to be received. It has something to do with "Faith", but in time all will be proven, so that no one is left with an excuse. But since you have admitted that you are anti-Mormon, most of that probably went over your head. Oh well, I tried.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  16. not soooooo

    Here is another good link

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2309727/posts

    June 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  17. not soooooo

    I believe for the most part, Southern Baptist, Jehovah's Witness, Mormons etc... Are all trying to be good people and serve each other in the best way they can. When a Jehovah's Witness comes to my door, although I don't believe in his religion, I respect him for wanting to "save" me or bring me eternal happiness or whatever. I think most people are trying to do what is right and believe they are doing it for a good reason.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  18. jaygee

    Anyone in this country who has the slightest idea of what Mormonism truly represents understands just how close it comes to Scientology. Their beliefs on women & salvation, their thoughts regarding black inferiority and just who Joseph Smith really was. This guy told everyone that Christ would return in 1891. He was a member of the occult and yet a religion formed because of him. If he was alive today, he would simply be another Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggart. In other words, just give me the money.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Dan

      You clearly don't know anything about the LDS faith. Also, though I am not an apologist for the Church of Scientology, you clearly know little about that as well.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Steven

      Wow, your ignorance of the LDS Faith is staggering. Joseph Smith never made such a prediction. He also did not gain ANY money as the founder of the LDS Church.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Jeb

      jaygee

      You are spot on correct. Well said.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • D19407

      Ok Dan and Steve – then please tell us about JS reading golden plates from a hat.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • slick

      Too bad all Smith got out of that deal was getting tarred and feathered, ridiculed, and murdered... sounds like the life!

      June 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Lee

      Joe Smith was a walking fraud and for decades Mormonism was an outlaw cult, with many, like the Romney's, become fugitives from American justice.

      Then they made only POLITICAL (not spiritual) compromises to survive but when they did that, they bought off legislators wholesale and then made it their mission to take over government first on local levels but then on a national level.

      Mormonism is the fastest growing cult in America and is set to accelerate.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What's wrong with scientology? it's a great money making cult providing a valuable service to the delusional.

      June 22, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  19. Enoch

    Mormonism (the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints") has taught that the black people are "inferior" and are "cursed" by God. The Mormon leaders who have taught these things in the name of Christianity are revered as "prophets, seers and revelators" by their Church, and their plain words about these cruel, unscriptural teachings remain for the world to judge.

    One of the Mormon prophets said the following:

    "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.

    You want to know about mormonism? Please do follow the link:

    http://saintsalive.com/resourcelibrary/mormonism/african-americans-and-the-mormon-church

    June 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • ReligiousIgnorance

      Great Link!

      June 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • not soooooo

      Yes and Democrats of the 1850s started the KKK

      June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Steven

      Your reference to the Journal of Discourses is laughable. That collection does NOT represent Mormon doctrine. Other entries in there also slam doctors and medicine – because such entries were from the 1850's. Other entries applaud doctors and medicine – because those entries were made in the 1880's. Medical science changed a lot in those years. This is just an example of the fact that these discourses were opinions of the time. Their opinions were wrong then as yours are now. This was not doctrine.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • not soooooo

      Here is another "great" link

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2309727/posts

      June 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • travis

      you're a fool,,,and don't know the facts...get a life fool....

      June 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Jeb

      Thanks for spreading the truth about the crazy cult of Mormon!

      June 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • ReligiousIgnorance

      It's all get a life fool....you don't know the facts.....that's it. Always.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Colin

      My favorite is the story of that fvcking half-wit failed treasure hunter in upstate New York finding magic gold tablets amd seer stones. Holy sh.it Mormons are dumb.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  20. Tom

    LOL, well-qualified and Mormon is an oxymoron... Unless the Mormon is wearing his magic pajamas. Then, it just a joke 🙂

    June 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Steven

      Another prime example that bigotry is alive and well in the U.S.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Jenny

      Too funny there Tom!

      June 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • slick

      What, you don't want to trade in your wife-beaters for magic pajamas? I don't see your logic here..... Lol

      June 21, 2012 at 11:04 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.