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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. us_1776

    Mormonism is a cult.

    A pretty deranged cult at that.

    And we don't need any deranged Mormons in the WH.

    .

    June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      Better stick to Muslims. At least they're safe.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • leanonit2

      They are sneaky and devious. If one ever gets in power you will be sorry. I hate them all. We don't have to vote for Obama he is just a poor leader. But Mormons are cultists and believe in weird things. Do all you can to keep him out of the office. I am not kidding they are evil once you get to know them I really do hate them.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      Just because they build massive mosques in neighborhoods without enough parking? Nah. they're harmless. What building permit? They don't need no stinkin' building permit. Just threaten the mayor and city council.

      Easy – Peezie. Up goes the mosque! Isn't the call to worship magnificent? Five times a day! Wait.. whose car is that parked on your lawn?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Better stick to Muslims."

      Anyone who believes Obama is or even 'was' a Muslim should call a hospital and see if they can sell what little brain matter might still be clinging to the inside of their skulls for medical testing, it obviously isn't doing them any good.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      Great name Mass Debater. I bet it builds lots of confidence in yourself. How's that penis pump working out for you? Did you buy a big enough one?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      You see, Wanda here is using the little brain she has to comment about my massive debate skills. You'll make a lot more money selling your body parts to a hospital than selling them on the street corner Wanda, though i'm sure your current profession has the added benefit of keeping your belly full...

      June 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      That's what I thought. You optimistically ordered the large size, and now you're disappointed with the results.

      Try your mom's Hoover, but be careful. You don't want her asking why you need a vacuum to watch the internets.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Well Wanda, I moved out of my parents house 20 years ago and support myself just fine without having to get on my knees as someone of your mental skill might have to. I can only assume my last joke about you orally pleasing your clientele went over your head much like your clients greasy beer belly's.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  2. Canon

    Many here today would not make a very good spokespeople on what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe. Would you be part of a quick experiment with me? If you were put in a room with the following people- who would you want to meet and speak with first,second, third, fourth, and so forth. Please list them in order. Jimmer Fredette,Thurl Bailey,Glen Beck,Ken Jennings,Johnny Miller,Billy Casper,Cael Sanderson, David Archuleta, Donny Osmond,Marie Osmond,Gladys Knight, Jon Huntsman,Orrin Hatch,Harry Reid,Ty Detmer,Andy Reid,Lavell Edwards,Steve Young,Dale Murphy,Wally Joyner,Steven Covey,Clayton M. Christensen,J. Williard Marriott,Danny Ainge,Kyle Whittingham. Rank them 1-25 who you would like to meet and speak with in your order. After meeting all 25 people do you think you would come up with a commonality among all these people? Yes, they are all members of the same Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. "Mormon" Would you still say the same things you said in your post to their faces or would you want to really know what they all believed in ahead of time so you would not be embarrased in your conversaitions. Please go to mormon.org and get better informed in case you meet any member in the future, famous or not.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • peter

      canon–im not a mormon but i am a great spokesman for the lds–Mormons believe that the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is the word of God-Now i am going to speak for myself–the book of mormon is not the word of God nor are you people christians. Joeseph smith is a cursed man and a liar who put people in darkness and slavery.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Sam Barber

      ...talk about a long-winded, idiotic, straw man argument...!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • John

      Peter, why is it that anyone would ask you about mormons when you are so obviously full of hate for them?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Craig

      Canon, you are not making any sense. What you are doing is judging the whole messed up religion based on 25 individuals. It does not change the fact that most mormons are bigoted, racist individuals. I know because I am a Mormon. It is like putting 25 straight clean Catholic priest and saying "See, there's is no pedophile priest in the church".

      Try this. Go to your ward this Sunday, wearing a pair of jeans with t-shirt and get someone to puff cigarette smoke on you. Come back and report how many people will talked with you, made eye contact and flat out ignored you and how many people talked with you so that they can convert you. Try that is all the wards around your stake.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  3. aaron

    people should be biased against mormonism. the things they believe are absolutely crazy, even compared to the rest of the religions.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • como1

      You liberals will stoop low and long to deter people from voting for Romney. What a display of bigotry.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • LDS Guy

      Who cares what we believe in? It matters how we act. The same goes for anybody else.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • aaron

      im not liberal. i just hate all religions and the power they wield, much like the founding fathers did.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • John

      Oh, aaron, you are just upset that no one cares what you think so you get mad at anyone that has more influence than you do. What are you, 12?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • aaron

      I'm 14 and I know enough that I know more than you.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  4. Portland tony

    As if if religion makes a difference? A wise man of decent character is all you can hope for in any election. There have been scoundrels of all religious persuasions elected to public office. As there have been good or great men of a non specific religion elected. If you agree with a candidate's politics, vote for him. Just hope he lives up to your expectations.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • shep

      Wise men are not Mormons

      June 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • John

      You don't even know any Mormon's Shep. How would you know?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  5. shep

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

    June 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • aaron

      i did a search on it...very interesting. that guy was a dirtbag

      June 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Charlie

      I did look it up. What part am I not going to believe? One of my granfathers died a war hero and the other was a murderer that died in prison. I am glad no one judges me by what my grandfather did. That would be rediculous.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  6. The Dude

    Mormons, like Christians are very strange people.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • LDS Guy

      Thank you!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  7. big picture

    I do not recall one president being elected that was not christian in some aspect (just a thought). I wonder if Americans will consider Mormons christian come general election? Especially since they have such a racial bias but the same could be said of the church Obama attended before he distanced himself from that political pitfall.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Jewel

      News Flash- Many Mormons ARE Americans, and they are all Christians. You must be one of those loyal liberals who feel the need to divide us all into teeny, tiny special interest groups. I am an American. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which means I am a follower of Christ. Let's get past this divisiveness and elect someone who can get our country back on track and back to being financially responsible.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I am an American. I am not a Mormon. I do not believe any God's have ever walked among us or ever will. I want to vote for the candidate that never uses their religion to make federal policy, though I will allow it to guide their personal moral choices, but it should NEVER EVER come into play when making broad policy decisions for the majority of Americans.

      I hope I live to see the day where I can cast my vote for the candidate without EVER knowing what theyr personally held religious beliefs are. It will happen some day, where announcing your allegience to any religion will lose you the election, I just wish I didn't have to wait for organized religion to bring the world to the brink of destruction.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Wicked Wanda

      "I am an American. I am not a Mormon."

      You are a dick.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  8. Mike

    Hooray for religious intolerance. The founding fathers would have been so proud.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  9. Peikovianyi

    Mormons are only slightly more absurd than the general population, which is already ridiculous.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  10. Patrick

    They are just jealous of the underwear. Suck it!

    June 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Brian Ellis

    4 in 10 Americans don't know he's Mormon??? Really? What planet are they living on? BTW, I LOVE Mormons, some of the most wonderful, sweet people on Earth. But I'll never vote for Mitt, he stands for the unethical rich, who feel like it's our job (the middle class) to pay their taxes...

    June 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • JT

      Since, when does the middle class pay all the taxes. Being rich doesn't make you unethical.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • J James

      I'm a CPA many of my clients pay a lot of taxes even with the legal deductions. Some making over a million a year paid over $200,000 not sure how they are ripping off the system.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Charlie

      You've been brainwashed. I am sick of this class warfare.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  12. max

    Once again to TRANSLATE, RE-ORGANISE and RESTORE are some words the Mormons use. Clearly, telling me that Mr Smith translated the Book Of Mormon. He did not write them. He did not organize the Mormon church but that through him the TRUE church was re-organized. He was not the FOUNDER. All Truths to it's FULLNESS had to be RESTORED once again. Should it have gone thru some other individual? No one in this mordern times have claimed the activities that led to severe persecutions. These are their (Mormon) CONVICTIONS. Lets respect that. May we ask ourselves what are our CONVICTIONS?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • j

      You don't have to respect someone's convictions when their convictions are dumb.

      Planet Kolob? Really? That's pretty loony even as religious theologies go.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • John

      J – No one has to believe or respect your thoughts or lack of conviction either.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Craig

      Max – Charles Manson and David Koresh also had great conviction. Oh yea, lets not forget Warren Jeff too. Conviction means nothing when you are leading people astray.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • max

      Craig. We may now bring out the fruits that each organization/ persons had,has and will continue to have. What are the fruits of Mormonism? Many interpretations of the Kingdom Daniel saw, the TRUE church taken away from a nation and given to a people to bring FORTH IT'S FRUITS. Mr Smith and the mentioned comparables are easily judge-able from their actions.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  13. RudyG

    Based on the mind-numbingly idiotic comments in this blog it's surprising people even know how to ANSWER a survey question!!
    As for the Mormon faith, we can be sure CNN is going to print every idiotic comment about it from now until election day. ANYTHING but talk about jobs and the economy. Right Mr. President?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • CNN Moderator

      This is the religious belief blog. We talk about belief here. Because it's called...the belief blog. Can you read?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • shep

      Average Americans don't know anything about the Mormon church. Like the fact that they believe they are descended from space travellers from the planet Kolob. Time to educate the people. If we elect a Mormon, Jesus Christ will reach down and wipe America off the face of the planet

      June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • There's no such thing as a CNN Moderator

      So, it's like, what, you're not really a CNN Moderator but you play one on the internets? Fine, just to make you happy, we'll re-word it.

      " I Believe" that CNN is going to print every idiotic comment about Mormons from now until election day.

      Happy, ass hole?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • BK

      Actually I don't believe that Congress is talking much about jobs and the economy either-Right Republican majority in the House

      June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • CNN Moderator

      Happy? Not really, Rudy. You're still an idiot. And it's too bad you're too much of an asshole to figure out how to get around the filter. Run along, douche.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • CNN Moderator Hoser

      Wow. Articulate and assumptive, both! What are you doing, applying for a CNN job?

      "C'mon, CNN hire me! I'll keep 'em in line!"

      June 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  14. John the Historian

    Can mormons rebaptize Jews who were holocaust victims again if in the very unlikely event Willard gets elected ?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • seenenough

      you are so full of hate....sad and it's clear you are no historian

      June 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Jewel

      John- Let's think this through. If Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States, he will not have control of either: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (it has its own president and sets its own procedures), or the Jewish faith, or the holocaust victims. You will notice that when Nixon was President, even though he was a Quaker, the Vietnam War continued. A President of the United States is not a representative, lobbyist or spokesman for his religion.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  15. ohio resident

    I know they don't like coffee! I got almost an entire sermon on the evils of coffee from
    a very nice mormon in the area. I won't be voting for Romney because of reasons other than
    the fact that he is a mormon but i do have to wonder at some of the things they say.
    Other than that they have always been very kind people–don't know how some of the ideas fit into
    the white house though–I can't imagine not having coffee!

    June 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    Wiil the USA have statues of the polygamist Brigham Young in statuary hall ?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Canon

      Yes John, a statue of Brigham Young has been in the hall for many years.....when was your last tour?

      June 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • BK

      Perfect!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  17. please

    How does it feel as a mormon to be systematically discriminated against? What a rotten religion they pumped millions of dollars into the prop 8 campaign in california discriminating against gays. Mormonism is a cult with bizarre and sinister beliefs: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2011/10/is_mormonism_a_cult_who_cares_it_s_their_weird_and_sinister_beli.html

    June 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • twin1994

      you as bad as what you are accusing......take a hard look at the man in the mirror fist.

      June 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  18. John the Historian

    Will Warren jeffs get a pardon and become pastor in chief ????

    June 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Jewel

      Calling Warren Jeffs a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a lie. He belongs to a group that broke off from the church many, many years ago. Get your historical facts straight.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • John

      Different religion, simpleton.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      They're both right JH. Jeffs was not a part of the LDS. It was a splinter group, but it's like the difference between Catholic and Lutheran.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  19. John the Historian

    Will Willard ban the movie Latter Days ? I love that movie.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. John the Historian

    Can mormons be sperm donors so they can get these children spirits out of their mormon cult purgatory ?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Sperm Hoser

      I dunno. If you're kid doesn't look anything like you then ask you wife.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Craig

      I know you are being sarcastic but Mormon according to church handbook are not allowed to donate sperm or have a vasectomy.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:38 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.