Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Pew Poll on Mormonism and the 2012 Election

You can read it here, but I have summarized the essential findings below:
  • Half of all American voters know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon
  • Half of all Americans say that they know "little or nothing" about Mormonism.
  • Half of all voters think that Mormonism is a Christian religion.
  • One-third of all voters say that Mormonism is not a Christian religion.
  • Two-thirds of all voters say that Mormonism is "very different": from their own beliefs.
  • White evangelicals are more inclined than the public as a whole to see Mormonism as a "non-Christian faith."
  • Republicans who believe that Mormonism is a "non-Christian faith" are less likely to vote for Mitt Romney in the GOP primaries
  • Should Romney win the GOP nomination, 91% of Republicans who believe that Mormonism is a "non-Christian faith" would back him over Obama in a national election.
  • Overall opinions of Mormonism have changed very little since Romney ran for president in 2008.
Here is what I would like to know:  What percentage of Mormons will vote for Romney over Obama simply because he is Mormon?  Are there Mormons who supported Obama in 2008 who will vote for Romney over Obama in 2012 because they want to see a Mormon president?

The bottom line: Romney's Mormonism will hurt him during the primary season.  And frankly, I don't think that there is anything he can do about it.  He tried to address this issue with his 2008 "Faith in America Speech," but it did not seem to help.  This is a shame,  because I think Romney is the best the GOP has to offer.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

What percentage of Mormons will vote for Romney over Obama simply because he is Mormon? Are there Mormons who supported Obama in 2008 who will vote for Romney over Obama in 2012 because they want to see a Mormon president?

I'll go ahead and answer each of these based on my own anecdotal evidence drawn from my active participation in Mormon congregations in Texas, Virginia, and Utah over the last few years, my regular reading of Mormon blogs, and the attitudes expressed through facebook status updates and tweets from my many Mormon friends online.

The percentage of Mormons who will vote for Romney over Obama simply because he is Mormon is probably not very large at all. Because they constitute a minority within U.S. Mormonism, those Mormons who are either independent, Democrat, or liberal (most of whom surely voted for Obama in the last election) are not at all likely to vote for Romney, perhaps especially because he is Mormon and they are quite conscious about that fact and don't want to further the impression that Mormons are a homogeneously conservative voting bloc. Most of those voters furthermore feel that Romney represents a brand of Mormonism with which they disagree. I also know a handful of Mormons, both conservative and liberal, who would prefer a Mormon not be president because of the increased attention it brings to their own religion, which they prefer to either keep private or share on their own terms--not in response to its portrayal in the media/press.

Now if Jon Huntsman had a legitimate shot at the GOP nomination, that might be a different story.