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. ash

    He admits to be a Mooslim! search on youtube! youtube is your educational source...now we know why you are an ignorant monger

    June 22, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  2. Mc

    In my opinion, how religious you are says everything about your level of sanity. The more religious, the more insane.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man to the Rescue

      Agreed. I have a problem with any powerful religious leader in the White House whether it's a Catholic Bishop or a Mormon Bishop or a Protestant Preacher or a Buddhist monk.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  3. Mark Yelka

    Mormons must follow the commands of their "Prophet" or else face excommunication. A vote for Romney is a vote to put the highest Mormon leaders into the White House.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man to the Rescue

      Bishop Romney will be a God on the Mormon planet Kolob and rule the universe with his fellow gods, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Cool. Is that who you want in the White House?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • John_Locke

      Actually Mr. Yelka, that is inaccurate! Their is always the freedom to CHOOSE for oneself. It's an unchangeable law...

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Ian

      Wow, really? Like voting for JFK put the Pope in office?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • other david

      Mark – mormons are excommunicated for breaking serious commandments (ie: adultery)...and typically only if the person shows no interest in repenting.

      Your fear mongering about a mormon president is unfactual...just like your statement about people getting excommunicated for not following the prophet.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • kerfluffle

      @other david–your comments are just more effort to whitewash. Romney is a Mormon Elder–a Bishop in fact. And here you are telling us that his position with the church will have zero bearing upon his policy making?

      I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. I'll throw in a free set of golden plates.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • otherdavid

      @kerfluffle.....whatever his 'position' in the church is today will have nothing to do with being president. I do not doubt that his beliefs will impact policy...just like anyone's would. Of course, this is not a dictatorship so if the people vote for something he does not like I suspect he would have to go along with it. That's how democracy works.

      Not sure where the brainwashing, 'must obey Salt Lake City' rhetoric comes from. It's garbage. Have you seen the Harry Reid led Senate bending to the whims of Salt Lake? rubbish

      June 22, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  4. Anne S.

    Same scenario, but different faith. Same thing happened when Kennedy was running for office. People wouldn't vote for him because he was Catholic. But once Kennedy was in office he never once brought up his religion. Through the years we have had Presidents of different faiths, but never once did they preach their faiths to us. So what's the big deal? We are voting for the man's capabilities to run the office of President, not his faith.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • peter

      it's not the samething--mormons are not christians

      June 22, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • GABC

      Well said!

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Dyllis

      It's the typical balancing act that politicians play with religion and other sensitive subjects. In the case of religion, many of them are probably well aware that it's all nonsense and superst.ition but can't publicly make that stand and be electable, so they line up with a popular religion if they can claim e.g. to have been born into it, but water down any statements they might make about it, again so that they might still get the vote of a few believers of something else. I suspect Obama is in that camp.

      However, I actually think Romney might be sincere in his beliefs in his particular supersti.tion, which makes me more worried about him as a presidential candidate.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • kerfluffle

      Kennedy was not a Catholic Bishop.

      There's the difference.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  5. Joey Smith

    mormonism is a wierd cult. Not Christian,and the official position of the mormon faith is that real Christians are all heretics because they don't believe an angel told a charlatan from New York about magic plates with a long lost book revealing that Jesus was in North America and that the Indians are a lost tribe of the Jews.

    Look, mormns and anyone else can believe what they want. But the mormons have been trying desperately to convince evangelical Christians that they are just like them. They are not. And any faith that trys to hide it's intention should not be trusted. At least you know about Catholic pathologies about hating women. mormns don;'t want you to know what they believe and especially what they want.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • other david

      a couple things....mormons are not trying to hide anything nor are they trying to be just like Christians. They defend their desire to be considered christians because they very much believe in Christ. But don't confuse that with a desire to be just like christians. Quite frankly there is too much bickering among christians for anyone to 'want' to be one of them.

      As to your biased presentation of Joseph Smith...I suggest you take a look at the book of mormon. Anyone can make an outrageous claim but most people will require some proof. You may not believe the origins of the book but it does exist and has withstood 180 years of criticism. Not only that but has been proven to contain information, linguistic complexities etc..that were not known in the 1830's. Criticize all you want but the book is its own proof.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • John_Locke

      Joey, please keep in mind that ALL religions out there today fit the standard definition of a "cult"! They all have sacred writings, they all have charismatic leaders, and they all have followers.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • peter

      other david-If you believe the book of mormon is the word of God -than christendom is heresy and the only true christains are in fact mormons. But you can't say that because you are a cult and full of lies. EVEN THOUGH YOU 100 PERCENT BELIEVE THAT CHRISTENDOM IS HERESY

      Christendom rejects joeseph smith and the book of mormon, you people are not christians–To say the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is the word of God is blasphemy–You people are the heretics and in sin.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Mirosal

      The bible exists too, and THAT book is filled with errors. Your little book is just another story of the supernatural. A being who came to America 600 years after he "died". Yeah.. uh-huh... ok. It belongs on the sci-fi channel, not in the White House.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • John_Locke

      Joey, you seem very educated on Mormonism, just curious where you gather your facts from? I'm interested....

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • other david

      Peter– your use of capital letters does not make your statements true. You don't know what I believe nor can i say what you believe. But as to your comment I can say that I don't care if christianity rejects me or not. I do care if people spread lies about what I believe but I guess I have to accept that to some degree.

      The bible teaches of 1 Lord 1 Faith 1 Baptism.....and that is clearly not the case in christianity today. I think there are plenty of problems with christianity but plenty of people trying to do the best they can. You may disagree with mormons but fundamentally they teach people to be good, honest, moral, hardworking citizens. If you have a problem with that so be it.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  6. Dan, TX

    Muslim, Mormon, Christian. All the same.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Dan, TX

      Well, not quite the same, Muslim and Mormon religions are growing, Christianity is shrinking.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Steven Colo

      Muslim and Christian are monotheistic, as is Judaism. Mormonism is polytheistic.

      I disagree with the article's statement "18% of Americans saying they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon". You can in fact happen to be black, Asian, or female but you cannot "happen" to belong to any religion. It requires an active choice. While I would never discriminate based on someone's birth status, I can and do take choices into account.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  7. Ask about the truth

    Mormons claim to be Christian yet they don't believe in Jesus as the Triune God – you'll never see a cross on a Mormon Steeple.
    They prefer to worship their false God's, Moroni and Joseph Smith – along with their sitting Prophet (aka church President) who talks directly to God.
    As a boy growing up in Utah the Mormon children called us Christian kids "Gentiles". If Christians are "Gentiles" then what are Mormons?

    June 22, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • John

      They should've called you genitals.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • peter

      one christian kid can beat up 5 mormons but not 10–even 10 minion dogs can slay a lion.

      Don't worry about mormons, they were vanquished a long time ago.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Leeroy

      Peter, how about we go out back and see who could beat whom? 😉

      June 22, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • peter

      leeroy–ask the two missionaries who knocked on my door a few years ago-I didn't beat them up but i slaped one in the face,snaped the bom from his hand and urinated on it as they were both running away.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • other david

      and where is this litmus test for christianity that states "thou shalt believe in the triune God"??? The concept of the trinity came from a political counsel in 400 AD. Since when do we let eternal truth be decided by a vote?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  8. Ask about the truth

    Bishop Romney will be controlled by Salt Lake. You don't get to become a powerful Bishop without taking some scary vows in the Temple. And those vows are for all eternity. Yes, he's still a powerful Bishop. You don't just "quit" in the Mormon church.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • Nate

      Not one fact. Fear mongering biggotry.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Ask about the truth

      Fact: He's a Mormon Bishop
      Fact: He took vows in the Temple
      Fact: The vows were for all eternity

      Now lie, and lie some more, ye Mormons. Just like ol' Joseph Smith and his harem of wives.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • peter

      If romney is elected im not worried about that–he can make all the vows or do whatever they do in their temples or whatever. The lds religion is a false one and this thing about the white horse prophecy that some are worried about-who cares–the bom and the white horse prophecy is not true. I know some people take issue with it but i don't.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • John

      Ask about getting yourself a life.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Leeroy

      Huh . . . I was a Bishop (Branch President) and don't remember that happening. Do tell. Fascinating. 😉

      June 22, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • peter

      john–i don't hate the sinner i hate the sin–mormons should be treated like children when exposing their false religion–kind, but stern

      June 22, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • pryan67

      And Obama is controlled by Jesse Jackson just because he's black...oh..and the black panthers control Obama too...and NAACP..

      Get real...your anti-mormon hatred is showing

      I wonder how many on the left will scream about how "unfair" it is that people are voting against Romney just because he's Mormon. After all, they STILL cry "racist" when people disagree with Obama

      June 22, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • karenjay

      "become a powerful Mormon bishop"-that is almost funny. Anyone who is Mormon would not call their bishop "powerful." In fact, most of us are just grateful it is not us. It takes a lot of time and work and they spend about 5 years serving everyone in congregation (ward) until they get released about 5 years later. There is no money to be made and it is shear love of God for anyone to take this position.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • other david

      He may have been a bishop but thought he was also a stake president. Either way, he is neither of things now. Contrary to your belief that he is 'always' a bishop. You accuse others of lying and yet your facts are not 'factual'. Take your fear mongering somewhere else.

      @Peter....you certainly enjoy bashing the mormons. I teach my daughter that she cannot lift herself up by tearing others down and it sounds like you could use the same lesson. How about you share whatever message you have and let the mormons share theirs...the people will decide? Are you afraid that more people will take those scary mormon vows to be 'honest, true, virtuous, doing good to all men etc...'?

      Just a thought....if your message is only attacks on someone else then I submit that you have no message.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • peter

      other david–Mormons are cursed to the 7th generation

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • other david

      Peter– so your message is 'mormons are cursed'?? Alrighty then.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  9. Luth

    So this Land guy really believes that evangelicals know about magic underwear, but don't have a problem with it, and independents don't know about it, but have problems with it anyway??

    June 22, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  10. papa

    Well, the facts have not changes since 1967; the Mormon religion is based on a scripture that one guy read out of a 'Magic hat' and dictated to another guy. Crazy is still crazy, even 45 years later

    June 22, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Nate

      How do you keep your Klan robes so white?

      June 22, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • peter

      nate–obviously they bleach them-nate–how do you believe a liar, murderer,con artist, child molester so called prophet?

      June 22, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Leeroy

      Nate . . . remember that pearls before swine story and don't let them get to you. 🙂 Have an awesome day. Hopefully your day will not have so many confused people roaming around . . . as on this CNN post. 😉 We gotta love um. 🙂

      June 22, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  11. Rozelle

    An excellent opportunity for the President to rally his base. Simply be sure to always make reference to Romney as "my Mormon opponent".....

    June 22, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  12. Betty Crocker is God

    If I knee you were running I'd have baked a cake...

    June 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  13. johnmenacherjr@rocketmail.com

    I would say there are quite a few mormon bigots after reading this. They certainly have a truth issues. I will not vote for anyone involved in a cult period!!! ya have your warped believes to hide into the mainstream. And I certainly will not vote for a mormon bishop or any other ordained or annointed church or religious leader. Romney bombs on bothpoints thats that and I will never change my mind.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Leeroy

      Why not? Because they do too many good things and help too many people out of tough situations? Because they offer Church welfare and Church money to those in need instead of Government welfare? Because they teach good values? Because they teach of Jesus Christ and all the good works that Jesus Christ did for the world? Can you be more specific? Or are you just going to throw that "bigot" word around and expect people to buy into it?

      June 22, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  14. USN_Retired

    I would vote for a Mormon but I WILL NOT vote for a draft-dodging coward!

    June 22, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Leeroy

      Oh brother. He was serving a religious mission in France for a couple of years. He was not drafted. Sheesh.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  15. IndianaGreg

    So according to CNN, if you vote for Romney, it's because you don't like Black People, but if you vote for Obama, it's because you don't like Mormons. It's a Lose-Lose situation.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  16. Mike

    Well, I've never met a black person, a Jewish person or a woman who wore magic drawers and kept an eye out for the mothership.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  17. Leroy Jacobson

    I probably would not vote for a Mormon , but, it would be because I expect a Mormon to be conservative. I would vote for a Mormon who is liberal enough. I have just never heard of such a thing in the real world.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • hopeandcringe

      but you would vote for Obama who sat is Rev Wright's church for 20years and listened to anti American, Gay and Jewish rhetoric and than blamed 911 on them.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • karenjay

      LeRoy–ever heard of Harry Reid?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  18. Regionguy

    Now they need to do a follow up survey to ask how many of the folks who say they would vote for a well qualified Mormon know that Mormons are not Christians – as they do not believe in the Trinity?

    June 22, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Leeroy

      So Christianity is now based on a belief in the Trinity? Huh. I thought it had something to do with believing in Jesus Christ. BTW, the name of the Mormon Church is: The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. It's not "The Church of the Trinity".

      June 22, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • peter

      leeroy cursed is your prophet joeseph smith and cursed is the christ he preached and wrote about in the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Leeroy

      Peter . . . now you're able to place curses on others? You're quite a piece of work.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • peter

      Leeroy–if i gave you a book and said this is another gospel and you have to believe it because it is the word of God i would hope you would curse me as well. People do it to this day. Scientology for example,but it is better for ron hubbard than joeseph smith–hubbard never claimed another gospel of christ. It would of been better if joeseph smith was never born.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Nate

      Pearls before swine Leeroy. Don't let these people get to you.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • peter

      nate–well stay in utah where we put you cursed people in the 1800s

      June 22, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Leeroy

      Thanks Nate. I have to go to work anyway. 🙂 Have an awesome day . . . and hopefully Peter will reconsider his cursing of us. 🙂

      June 22, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man to the Rescue

      Leeroy – selective memory is a Mormon trait.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • other david

      Peter- in actuality the mormons are not presenting 'another gospel' when they bring up the book of mormon but rather are presenting 'the rest of the gospel'. I think you have gotten hung up on a couple verses from the bible. You clearly must be christian if feel like you have credentials to curse others and determine their beliefs worthy of damnation.

      By the way which version of the bible do you use? Amazing how such an infallible book can produce so many contending christian denominations. The book is so clear and easily understood that we even have multiple versions. I guess somebody thought they could improve perfection?? btw...I read from the King James Version (as far as it is translated correctly)

      June 22, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • peter

      other david–i submit to you that joeseph smith was and is a cursed man as is the christ he preached and wrote about in the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ. That the spirit which guided the hand of joeseph smith is of the antichrist. That the gospel of the lds is blasphemy as it's christ and it's prophet.

      If it is true that joeseph smith restored the true church of jesus christ than i am wrong , is all of christendom today, other than the true church which is the lds. You don't even say or preach what you believe atleast not on the surface–But if you believe the b.o.m and that joeseph smith was a prophet as you cleary do than all of christendom regarless of church is wrong and in error.
      The truth is joeseph smith was a liar from the beggining and to believe his claims and his gospel is to be in darkness and slavery. Cursed is joeseph smith and his christ.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • otherdavid

      Peter- you are so full of hatred. I really struggle to believe that you are a christian. As to your claim that the book of mormon was written by the antichrist I suggest you read some of it. It encourages people to believe in christ and says that the only way to salvation is through his mercy and grace. I suspect that is what you believe as well. Do you suppose that is just a clever ruse by the devil? I doubt it. Christ was also accused of performing miracles by the power of the devil. His response is my response to you. A house divided against itself cannot stand. You run around cursing people, accusing them of heresy and blasphemy and are only condemning yourself in the process.

      BTW....Yes I believe that most of christianity is in error. The truth hurts. Sorry.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • peter

      otherdavid-one of us is wrong-there is no grey area
      I do hate people like joeseph smith who write gospels and claim it is the word of God. Depart from me for eternity

      June 22, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  19. Leeroy

    I met some great and very good men in Iraq who were clearly able to recognize and discuss the basic good values we shared regardless of our religions. We were able to look beyond our religions and get good things done. Unfortunately, the US side didn't want to spend the time or money to get in touch with these basic similarities. Leadership chose to ignore them instead. It sounds like a lot of our voters are going to chose to ignore the great aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and select to follow the misguided teachings of the fanatics teaching falsehoods about us. Huh . . . interesting. That's exactly what the Talaban does with their twisted clerics.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  20. Top_News

    Don't want to vote for a member of the LDS Church? Fine. Then re-elect someone who admits he is a Mooslim but calls himself a Christian. Don't believe it? Then do a search on youtube how our president admits he is and watch and hear it for yourself.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • peter

      top news–thats right, we–republicans that feel the way i do–won't vote for a member of the lds, the people who say the bom is the word of God-but don't worry, we won't be voting for the mooslim either.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • god

      what is a mooslim? and how long have you been learning disabled?

      June 22, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • budshot

      and there, in a nutshell, is the nutcake Republican base.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Lisa

      Oh brother.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:05 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.