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. Follower of Christ

    To all atheist. You should be very thankful, God will grant you your hearts desire. He personally created a place where for eternity you will never have to worry about being near Him or His followers again. In that place His presence nor His kindness will ever be found. One thing you can count on being there is His full blown wrath. To all faithful followers of Jesus Christ. You should be very thankful, God will grant you your hearts desire. Jesus the most powerful figure known to man has created a new home for us. A home where we will forever dwell with Him never to be seperated again. Jesus is truly is the Son of God. He died 2000 years ago and yet throught out the ages His name still lives on louder than any other. The impact He made on this world is incomparable. People of faith, people whom Jesus calls for. Continue on the road that leads to righteousness. All glory and honor be to He who lives and reigns forever.

    June 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Follower of Christ' contains a threatening form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.


      June 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Whatever makes you feel good. I guess we all live in our own bubbles. I just hope you don't feed this to young impressionable kids before they learn to think for themselves. That is a form of child abuse. Good luck with all your impending death and rapture stuff. Maybe you can personally escort me to hell and feel good about it. It seems your god enjoys torture and killing.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  2. Purrfectly Fine

    What about the part where Mormons get their own planet after death? Or get to become gods of their own planet?

    June 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • .

      What should you care what we get? You should worry about what you get!

      June 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Humanist11

      What about the magic underwear? Will Romney need secret service protection if he is wearing the magic underwear?

      June 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  3. Rita Schwebel

    People have the right to believe what Jesus lived and taught when he walked this earth . After going to many different churches reading and studying the scriptures for a year or more at each one I still felt something was missing. What more was there to learn to satisfy my soul. There were many prayers asking heavenly Father to help me find the answer. When I found The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I had the answer to my prayer.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • shep

      No, you are just easily brainwashed. Fall to your knees and beg God for forgiveness.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • .

      Shep, you are the brainwashed one.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Hmmm, he's right it says on wikipedia...
    look under joe smith.

    In 1823, while praying for forgiveness from his sins,[25] Smith said he was visited at night by an angel named Moroni, who revealed the location of a buried book of golden plates as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of silver spectacles with lenses composed of seer stones, which had been hidden in a hill near his home.[26] Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning but was unsuccessful because the angel prevented him.[27]

    During the next four years, Smith made annual visits to the hill, but each time returned without the plates.[28] Meanwhile, Smith continued traveling to western New York and Pennsylvania as a treasure seeker and a farmhand.[29] In 1826, he was brought before a court in Chenango County, New York, for "glass-looking," or pretending to find lost treasure.[30][31

    June 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  5. shep

    Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, was in and out of jail long before he cooked up the Mormon fraud. He used to travel around the country claiming to have magic stones that could locate buried treasure. He never found any loot, but kept the money of the suckers. Thus, he was jailed. The man was a flat out con artist. Suddenly, he had the idea of a religion that allowed multiple wives. Another flat out scam. The Mormon church is a fraud. Educate yourself. Then warn all your friends. Mormons are the victims of the largest brainwashing in history.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Tom

      Where do you get your information? Are you saying Joseph Smith was arrested for fraud before he claimed to have Heavenly visitations? I thought he claimed to see God and Jesus Christ when he was 14 years old. Was he arrested before he was 14? Please share your source of information – I would like to do some research on this myself, but am having trouble finding anything to verify the claims you have made.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  6. Melinda

    "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and doing good to all men. Indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. "
    Articles of Faith–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    🙂 thank you.

    June 25, 2012 at 5:33 am |
  7. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 25, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • bave


      June 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Kindness


      June 27, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  8. shep

    If the United States elects a Mormon president, Jesus Christ will reach down and wipe America off the face of the earth. These are the false prophets the Bible warns us about. Educate yourself and then warn your friends.

    June 25, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • suemac47

      And if he doesn't? Can He reach down and wipe you off the face of the earth? Do you know how many current members of Congress or hold high political office are Mormons? Maybe you should let Jesus know so He can start the wipe out now.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Zeus

      The only job your Jesus could do is wiping my backside.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  9. Kindness

    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself.

    June 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • .

      Amen. Thank-you for those ellegant words!

      June 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  10. BRUCE

    i wish romney would take a powder

    June 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  11. shep

    It is not religious bias.. It is cult bias. The Mormon messiah will never convince Americans to wear the magic Mormon diaper. This is not Jonestown. We will not drink the KoolAid.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • .

      Shep, i wish you wouldn't eat nails! They make you down right mean. Take a deep breath, turn to the person next to you and say, "I love you!"

      June 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  12. Leslie Todd

    Romney allready has Too many bad strikes against him , he dont qualify as a citizen of America to be President .

    June 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • suemac47

      Oh, ouch Leslie. For God's sake go back to school and learn to read and write. Who could possibly care what you have to say about anything since you sound so uneducated.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  13. Jeffrey Root

    There are so many childish comments on here. I am an Agnostic who leans towards Atheism. I don't mind it when people are spiritual. Yes I have a problem with organized religion, but I do not believe that religion always makes people a bad. I have friends from all different kinds of religion. What religion they are as a presidential candidate does not bother me. It is how they use that religion to drive their politics that bother me. To me, Mormonism is no different than any other religion. Moses received stone tablets with the ten commandments from a burning bush, Joseph Smith received golden plates with more words from God from an angel. I think it all sounds a little looney, but if they can keep their religion out of politics I would vote for a Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, Baptist, Jew etc. etc.

    June 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • carol

      Dear Jeff, Just to set the record straight: Moses received the ten commandment from God on the mountain top, the burning bush incident pertains to a different instance in his life. It was to signify the presence of God. Joseph Smith supposedly dug up the Books of Mormon on the grounds of his farm. As the story goes, Smith did this as a result of divine instruction. All religions have moral precepts based upon a belief system. It is hoped that adhering to a set of religious beliefs makes one a better person, but there are no guarantees. We all, regardless of religion or no religion, choose in all of our actions to do good or not to do good. Free will determines all of our actions!

      June 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • bave


      June 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  14. volsocal

    And wherever there is not religious bias in the minds of average Americans, let's do whatever we can to stir some up. Right, CNN?

    June 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  15. shep

    Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. You won't believe it.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • volsocal

      While your're at it, Google Obama's moslem father and other relatives in Africa. You could research his terrorist buddies, too. Then you could move on the the organized crime ties to Obama's recent appointments to the Labor Department.

      June 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • shep

      Doesn't take much to get the Mormon hate machine fired up. How's the weather in Cult Lake City?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • smallvoice

      The autobiography of Parley P. Pratt is my second most favorite autobiography ever – just after Benjamin Franklin's. Truly amazing.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  16. Seyedibar

    of course there should be a bias against Mormons. I'm biased against anyone whose politics include ridiculous supernatural occurences. if we had a candidate who believed in Santa Claus, I'd be based against him as well.

    June 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You may not know this but St Nicholas was a real person canonized by the Catholic Church. So yes, there is a Santa Claus. What you seem to be against is the magical elf from the North Pole who brings free presents. You reduce matters of history and faith to the ridiculous and then try to make yourself sound smart by denigrating them. But hey, at least you have the right to vote.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • suemac47

      Hey Seyedibar, I'm surely glad you cleared up all that supernatural nonsence. Thank God the Bible doesn't contain anything but cold hard facts! Let's name a few, shall we? Not only did Moses turn a stick into a snake, but Egyptian priests could do it too! Of course, there's nothing supernatural about the parting of a sea, or manna falling from heaven, or hitting a rock with a stick and having water gush out. Then there's the one about blowing trumpets and having walled cities fall down. Didn't some guy push down a big stone temple with his bare hands because he had magic hair? Then there are supernatural acts cloaked as "miracles" about Jesus being born of a virgin woman, of walking on water, of healing blind, lame, sick and even dead folks... Feeding 5,000 people with a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread. So you see, it all has to do with your frame of reference. The Bible is stuffed with supernatural occurances. How come these get to be true but the Mormons can't have supernatural occurances. Why is one insane but the other is not? Judge not, lest ye too be judged. Stop the childish hypocracy.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  17. Toma Joel

    Thus says The Lord concerning that which is obvious, a warning made plain, which shall go greatly unheeded by those with veiled heads: This is but the first of many things, which men in the churches have built up in their pride, that shall be struck!...

    For they build themselves up for show, a false goodness...

    Foolish servants, who forsake the poor and the needy,
    In favor of the praises of men...

    FALSE GLORY! Says The Lord in His jealousy.

    For their works are perverse in My sight, and their words contemptible. Therefore, because they have robbed Me, I will rob them. I will tear them in pieces, with every foundation collapsing... No wall shall be left standing... And they shall become as those, whom they have forsaken. And they shall no more preach from their finely-crafted pulpits, standing tall among all their expensive ornaments, broadcasting lies with all their purchased devices.

    I am The Lord!...

    I will not share My glory!...

    Neither shall they pollute My name, anymore!

    Behold, all these great churches of men,
    Who have accomplished great gain in the world,
    Shall become the offscouring among the nations...

    Says The Lord.


    June 24, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      June 24, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer is life changing

    June 24, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Chuck

      prayer changes nothing. Getting off your knees and doing something will accomplish things.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • JWT

      He/She may well be accomplishing things while on their knees. We just don't need to know about it;

      June 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Holy Man

      Answer this: If prayer changes things, then why do so many "Christians" die of horrible illnesses every year? Why do so many "Christians" live in horrible poverty? Why do "Christians" around the world kill those who do not believe the same things?

      By the way, answers like "God works in mysterious ways" and "God tests us" are not acceptable. Those answers mean that prayer actually does NOT change anything, but that God enjoys torturing his children just to see how they react. Is that a loving God? Would you purposefully make YOUR OWN children sick just to see if they love you enough?

      June 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Mormon Underwear

    I thought the same thing! I didn't know they wore them to bed with
    Mormon Underwear

    June 24, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • .

      The underware you are referring to is not magic, but there is power in keeping the commandments of God. People who keep the commandments do not suffer from being thrown in jail or being shot (don't steal, lie, or kill), have good marriages and families (don't commit adultery or covet or drink alcohol) are more prosperous (take one day a week to rest), and have better health (don't smoke, drink tea, coffee or alcohol). We are taught to be honest and do good to others and so we make good employees, neighbors, and citizens. In short, we stay out of trouble. The underware you are referring to is a personal temple and reminds us to keep the commandments, because sometimes with all the corruption around us, it is easy to forget. So, what is wrong with that?

      June 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • carol

      Nothing wrong with wearing the undergarments if they work. Perhaps, if Mr. Romney becomes president ,he should make as his first official act in office required wearing by all in the federal government.This could well be the only way that we citizens can insure integrity in our elected representatives. By the way, how much do they cost? I would be willing to start up a fund in my state to supply our representatives with a pair.

      June 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  20. IslandAtheist

    Romney used his Mormonism as an excuse to dodge the draft, he is unfit to be Commander and Chief.

    June 24, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      At least Clinton was brave enough to strap on an M-4 and fight for his country. Right? Well, didn't he? Whatever island you're on, please stay there. We don't want the likes of you running around.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • TJeff1776

      "Draft".........America has an all-volunteer military....OR haven't you heard.......

      June 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Newk36

      ............ and Obama is fit? You can reply or rant back at me all you want. It is amazing how much hatred organized religion generates.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      @TJeff1776 Vietnam War...hear of it?

      June 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Romney was a supporter of the Vietnam War, but the coward ran off to France during the draft.

      June 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Leslie Todd

      He became a morman priest to dodge the draft , and then gave it up after the danger of being drafted was over .
      Much like Bush , His father kept him out of Vietnam , he didnt even show up for the Gaurd meetings . Its the Republican way .

      June 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
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About this blog

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.