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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. suemac47

    I have read through a number of the comments on this topic and am horrified at how silly, mean spirited, and un-Christian they are. The real topic, can a Mormon be a good president, is lost to most posting here. If we look at the Mormon track record some things become clear: the Mormon church is amazing when it comes to humanitarian aid, not just to other Mormons, but to all people in need. Hundreds of millions of $ to many nations.The church teaches that each member contribute 10% of wages earned (straight out of the Bible) to the church so that these good works can be accomplished. The incidence of drug abuse, alcoholism, violent and nonviolent crime, and divorce are far below the average in Mormon homes. The church holds the family in high regard and the rearing of children as a sacred trust. Utah, home to many Mormons, is one of the few states which have a budgetary surplus. Mormons believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, attend church, and pray often. They walk their talk. Could a Mormon be a good president? Of course. Considering the sad state of affairs our country is currently in, perhaps that's just what we need.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Denver

      Mormons are NOT Christians. You are 'another gospel' and you know it.

      And btw, the Prophet Gordon, who Mormons claim is as much a prophet of God as Joseph Smith or Moses or Peter, responding to a question whether the LDS believe in the “traditional Christ” of Christianity, stated:

      "No I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak [the Mormon christ] has been revealed in this the dispensation of the fullness of times."

      Just be who you are, but stop claiming you're Christians, because you aren't and you only say you are to deceive the elect.

      June 24, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • RH

      Denver quit trying to tell people what they know. Mormons believe in and follow Christ. Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Son of Mary in the New Testament. No one is trying to deceive anyone but you. The LDS way of teaching others about their beliefs to have people study it out in their minds and then pray for a personal witness to know if what they have studied is true. Maybe you should try it some time.

      June 24, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • suemac47

      Exactly who are the "elect"? Sounds a little like a cult organization.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Richard

    If you want to have a real discussion about the mormon church, don't come here. Just FYI.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  3. GoMs

    mormon haters are clowns, bro

    June 24, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  4. macmb

    The mormon church is the only true church on the face of earth. Jesus is the head of the mormon church. Everyone should repent and join the mormon church. Mormons are the most selfless and non judgemental people and ready to forgive because mormons are the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS on the face of this planet.

    June 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Richard

      No.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • nice try

      troll

      June 24, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Denver

      Thanks macmb for saying what few Mormons will admit in public: not happy with being 'just Christians' (which you aren't), you truly believe you are the, how did you say it?, ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS on the face of this planet. It's beautiful in its pure narcissism! But you only mentioned, snicker, on the face of the planet.... what about the air and underground? Are you the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS there, too?

      June 24, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  5. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    I had always heard that K-Lob recorded the most strike-outs of any pitcher in the history of Mormon slow-pitch softball.

    June 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  6. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    To some folks they're "gold tablets." To me, they're just low-grade yellow paper with blue lines set wide enough for second grade penmanship class.

    June 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  7. Merle Morrigan

    You know, I honestly don't care what religion he is, but what the man is missing is Love.

    If he speaks with the tongues of men and of angels, but has not love, he is just noise. If he speaks prophecy, and know all mysteries and of God and Science, and if he has all faith, so as to remove mountains, but has not love, he is nothing. And if he gives away all his riches and even sacrifices his body so he can feel good about it , but have not love,he profits nothing.

    Mitt Romney doesn't have that kinda love for all the People of America. Obama does.

    June 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  8. Martin

    The whole survey is moot, because Romney is not well-qualified.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  9. hemo

    mormons are the worst thing ever. they arent even fit to live. the real Protestant God will send them to a particularly terrible part of hell. Praise Jesus!!!!

    June 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Schadenfreudean Psychologist

      "Jesus" is my landscaper.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • suemac47

      Jesus would not appreciate your hateful prejudice at all. His teachings were based on love. You are not a Christian by anyone's definition. For shame.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Dave

    I am amazed at the absurdity and foolishness of so many of these comments.

    To all you ragging on Romney's religion saying it's so horrible and the people there are horrible for the sole fact they are Mormons, I say Pot, meet kettle.

    Romney will be an excellent president and for all the people that are legitimately worried about him (and not just for the sake of being against him because they are against the LDS church) – I say look at his track record. He has kept his religion to himself and not pushed it open others while in leadership positions.

    He will do the same as President.

    Go Romney – we would be so lucky to have him as a candidate.

    June 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Republican for Obam

    I am a lifelong Republican who have now switched to Obama. In 2008, I voted for the CHRISTIAN John McCain. Having read portions of the book of mormon wherein people of colour and women were (and still are) regarded as 2nd class citizens in the mormon hierachy, I see no other choice.

    In 1971, Mitt Romney was a grown man who sat in the mormon pews as the cultish leadership disparged black, asians and people of colour. As a future surgeon, I am compelled to see the beauty in all races. The same cannot be said for the evil mormon, Mitt Romney.

    June 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Common sense shouldn't be so uncommon. Consider me a Republican against Romney.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • RH

      I am a Mormon of Asian/Pacific Islander descent with relatives who are black, American Indian and Hispanic. I have never been treated as a "2nd class citizen" nor have my female relatives. You probably shouldn't generalize by saying things about the LDS that aren't true.

      June 24, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  12. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Romney suffers from a form of the Three B Syndrome i.e. he was Bred, Born and Brainwashed in his religion. For this reason, he is unable to think past the shackles put upon him by one of the great con artists, i.e. Joseph Smith.

    Obama also suffers from a version of the Three B Syndrome. For this reason, he is unable to think past the shackles put upon him by the likes of Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    June 23, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • kerfluffle

      You are a fool. Prayer has as much effect as alchemy. You are simply too obtuse to comprehend a world outside of your narrow vision. Go get your shinebox.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Oh, and peter? Before you blow a gasket or pop an eyeball, get this:

    I don't worship any god.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • peter

      If thats true, you don't believe the book of mormon is the word of God and that joeseph smith was a liar and con artist. We do agree on that,don't we–about mormonism

      June 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  15. peter

    tom tom tom, i said i know for a fact that the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is not the word of God. That joeseph smith who wrote the book in 1830 was a liar and a fraud. That mormonism is nothing but a recorded invented religion that is 182 years old.
    It has nothing to do with what God or religion i believe in.
    Now,for about the 10 time,do you believe that the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is the word of God,yes or no?

    June 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It most certainly DOES have to do with the God and the faith you believe in. You don't believe that Mormonism is a "real" religion; others do. Why should anyone pay you mind when you believe in a God whose existence you can't prove and a book whose contents you can't verify as being true or accurate?

      Your religious beliefs are no more valid than Romney's or anyone else's. And none of them have a thing to do with the candidate'd ability to run a country.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Dickie

      But Tom, you are so very wrong. If a man can so easily believe what is so obviously fantasy, what else can he be led to believe? It has everything to do with his fitness to be president. To have a candidate be so ungrounded in reality is downright frightening to sane people.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't believe it's anymore ridiculous than what the fundies believe. It's not any LESS ridiculous, either.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • peter

      tom tom tom, I disagree, mormonism like scientology is a mental illness–With that said why can't you just confess to the board that book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is not the word of God. If you affirm that but have no problem with voting for a mormon regardless thats fine.
      By the way, i don't care who you or anyone votes for–im not here to change minds on who people should vote for.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You bozo, I'm not going to "confess" anything. I have nothing TO confess, you silly little boy.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would I care if something is "fine" with you, goofus?

      June 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • otherdavid

      Peter– please provide your proof as to how you know for a 'fact' that the book of mormon is not true....You troll these threads blowing hot air and never once substantiate your claims. You run around cursing everyone you can think of and provide nothing of substance.

      Here is a fact. You don't know anything about the mormons or the book of mormon. You reiterate the same tired lies that have been around for decades. You should consider taking the advice of Gamaliel in the book of Acts.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • peter

      other david–my proof that the book of mormon, another testament of jesus christ is not the word of God?

      Joeseph smith wrote a book in 1830 and claimed it to be another gospel of jesus christ
      jack brinks wrote a book in 1840 and claimed it to be another gospel of jesus christ
      bob farmer wrote a book in 1889 and claimed it to be another gospel of jesus christ
      John jenks wrote the book of seedom,another testament of jesus christ in 1979 and claimed his church is the true church of jesus christ and that christendom and mormonism–the lds–is heresy and in error

      The point is if you believe the claims of joeseph smith and his book of mormon you have to read every gospel from now to kingdom come to "make sure" if it is true or not
      I can simply dismiss joeseph smith and all the other prophets but you can't david.

      I do in fact curse the christ of mormonism and your prophet joeseph smith

      June 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • fkratz

      This religion, as created, is set up for a nuclear option; either you believe it all, or it is a big lie, there is no middle ground. It is also a 30 billion dollar behemoth with some very wealthy and powerful advocates and it will continue to exert its influence on American politics and the national landscape.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      And, I might add, they have a heck of a choir.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Jasmine

      Peter, prove it since you know it for a fact. And to know it for a fact would mean that you knew Joseph Smith. You must be really old, are those super glasses that you are wearing and do you have to talk to your computer to do your typing for you? Really, are you in a book of world records at least, for the oldest living person? If not I'd call them quick, you might make money right before you die. Regardless your age you might want to read the Book of Mormon (or in your case probably have someone read it to you) before saying what it is or isn't, without doing that everyone knows that you don't research before you talk, they know not to trust anything that you say, and they know that you don't know what you are talking about in general.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • otherdavid

      Peter- your 'proof' is not proof at all. You have an opinion about the mormons and you run around saying it is fact when it is not. That makes you a liar. Joseph Smith never claimed to preach 'another' gospel. Seriously, have you considered actually doing some research to know what you are talking about?? All you know how to do is throw around silly, baseless, useless curses.
      Epic failure.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  16. Write a Book

    Interesting that many on this blog speak bad about Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. These were early leaders of the Church who have been gone along time. I noticed in this blog and every other blog where anti-feelings are shared that they do not attack or speak evil of the living Prophet Thomas S. Monson or any of the living 12 Apostles on the earth today? Why is that? Is it easy to speak of the dead when they are not around to defend themselves? Seems rather cowardly to me. I just find this interesting.

    June 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • peter

      the lds and the book of mormon speak for itself. Joeseph was a evil man who lied and put people in darkness and slavery through his invented religion. Everything is on record-It was only 130 years ago that this religion was started. As far as the living prophets and 12 apostles in the lds --they have nothing to do with anything–They should reject the religion of their fathers and break the cycle of misery for their families

      June 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      When the creator of your religion lacks integrity the house of cards falls. The history of the con-man is well established. How he created his religion is well established. Can't blame a con for being a con, that is what they do or did. You can blame adults who buy into a religion just created under 200 years ago. Unsound minds are dangerous in power.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Yeah,

      Those people are full of sh!t too.

      Is that better?

      June 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Sergio Roa

      Iam a latinamerican , professor and LDS.It is incredible to me the complete ignorance about the most importan religion born in US. I feel that the opinion born by perjudicies and misunderstunding. History has at last 2 versions, Jesus was a liar in the Roman Impire times.....Apostle Paul too. Gives us the oportunity to show how well citizens we are.....If you elect Romney you will have a exelent president, tolerant, and firm too.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      A professor? What do you teach, English as slaughtered language?

      You are a Laminite. How does that feel?

      June 23, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • .

      Sergio, no le preste atencion. Estas personas no saben nada! Estoy de acuerdo con utd!

      June 23, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  17. Commonman

    So that means that 82% would vote for a Mormon. Taking into account that a minority of any given population may be bigoted, that is a pretty good figure.

    June 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • peter

      The republican percentage is much higher than that–that article has alot of flaws

      The bottomline is if 2 percent of republicans sit out romney will not be elected. I know i will be and i live in a battle field sate

      June 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Dickie

      Watch that figure plummet when what Mormons actually believe gets more airtime.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      People said that about Catholicism when Kennedy was running, too. Didn't happen.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Kennedy wasn't a Catholic Bishop. He also was a military veteran. And to my recollection, his little brother stomped Mittens in the Massachusetts Senatorial race, before the carpetbagger Romney decided that maybe being a liberal R governor of the most liberal state in the nation would be an easier gig to land.

      Romney is a carpetbagger.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • OTOH

      kerfluffle,

      A Mormon "Bishop" is not like other Christian bishops. Look it up. They just serve for a few years, mainly doing "parish" (ward) duties. They are experts of mumbo-jumbo and hokus-pokus, for sure, but no more than the Masons, which many (most?) U.S. presidents belonged to.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • kerfluffle

      OTOH–While that may be true, it does not sufficiently exculpate the role of religion in Romney's decision-making, whereas Kennedy can hardly be described as a devout anything. Or does Mitt have a Marilyn in his closet as well?

      June 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • chaz8181

      His religion is not my opposition to him..it is because he is a draft dodger during the Vietnam war. He spent the time in France in a mansion and in Paris. on a "mission". And now a draft dodger wants to command the entire military.
      signed
      Vietnam veteran.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  18. peter

    google: testimonies of barton stafford and henry harris-abigal harris and lucy harris–roswel nichols and joshu stafford-affidavits from the neighbors of the family of joeseph smith

    Remember this religion is only 130 year old–thats yesterday–nothing but a recorded con job

    June 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So only the fact that Christianity is 2000+ years old makes it 'real'?

      June 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • peter

      tom tom –Is the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ the word of God,yes or no?

      June 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I asked you the question first. Either answer it or evade.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • peter

      This article and our conversation has nothing to do with christendom or the truth of it--You been lying to the room all day,"im not a mormon" –i don't know what you call yourself but you believe that joeseph smith was and is a prophet and that the book of mormon is the word of God.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I didn't say what I "believed", peter. I asks you how you know that your religion is "real" and "true" and every other religion is "false". Thus far, you've provided nothing except the bible as evidence. What if the bible isn't accurate? What if it was made up? How do you know that it is the truth?

      What I question is your emphatic insistence that you are right and everyone else is wrong. How do you know?

      June 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Quite honestly, I don't care what religion these particular candidates subscribe to. I don't think it has much to do with how they'll run the country, anymore than Obama's race does.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • peter

      tom tom–i think you do care

      June 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You need to fix your thinker. It's broken.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • otherdavid

      Peter– Some very quick math shows the LDS church is 182 years old. Not 130 years old as you claim. I wonder how many of your other 'facts' can be refuted in a matter of seconds?

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

      I did say 130 years somewhere and thought about correcting it but i didn't think i would have to because it was a harmless mistake–be that as it may, for once you are correct–the religion of mormonism is 182 year old and not 130. The book of mormon ,written by a man named joeseph smith in 1830

      June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And all the books in the Bible were written by men, 2000 years ago.

      They're equally questionable.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • otherdavid

      Peter– Sooner or later you'll discover that I've been correct more than once. By the way....I challenge you to research some of the linguistic/literary complexity found in the book of mormon. Your claim that Joseph Smith wrote the book is intellectually lazy. What you would discover should you do even 10 minutes of research is that book contains writing, details, semitic writing styles etc.... that nobody in 1830 knew about. Some of this stuff wasn't known for over a hundred years later. Therefore to believe that a young man with no formal education wrote the book you would also have to accept him as the greatest author of all time. The real miracle would truly be this young guy making up the book.

      But I know you won't research. Someone has you convinced that mormons are evil despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Carry on in your spiteful hurtful ways.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  19. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    If we can't have an atheist, agnostic, pagan, etc. president, then what about a Rastafarian?

    June 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  20. John the Historian

    Since no one can find the planet kolob where will all the non-mormons go ??? Help

    June 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • just sayin

      Space Alien Jesus

      June 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • just sayin

      God Is. God bless

      June 23, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • Schadenfreudean Psychologist

      I've heard the eats are tastier on the planet Kabob...

      June 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Schadenfreudean Psychologist

      Nevertheless, "If I could hie to Kolob" has to be one of the greatest religious tunes ever written, regardless of the denominational affiliation. It requires a singing range of an octave and a fifth, which your typical Lutheran congregation might regard as decidedly 'unearthly.'

      The Scientologists have been trying to emulate this LDS hymn for years, but can't seem to come up with enough politically correct words that rhyme with "clear."

      June 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Schadenfreudean Psychologist

      Actually, I just realized, the drinking song that became the U.S.'s national anthem requires an octave and a fifth. "If I could hie to Kolob" requires only an octave and a third, but is set in a vocal register that practically cries out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

      June 23, 2012 at 9:48 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.