New Poll Shows Most Americans Don’t Care about Romney’s Mormonism

New research from the Pew Center confirms what we already suspected: most Americans are “unimpressed” with the Republican presidential candidate field. 

“Of the party’s top four candidates,” Pew wrote, “only Mitt Romney has broad potential appeal.”  Only Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul come close to Romney in name recognition, but more than 60% of voters say they would never vote for any of them.

The Pew survey also shed new statistical light on a favorite subject of media and Republican handwringing: Romney’s Mormonism.

A healthy majority of Americans (68%) say that it would not matter to them if a presidential candidate was Mormon.

Only 25% of Americans say they are less likely to support a Mormon for president. (By comparison, 61% of Americans say they are less likely to support an atheist, 33% a gay candidate, 24% a former marijuana user, 11% a Hispanic, 7% a woman, and 3% an African-American.)

But Mormonism does not matter to 70% of Republicans overall and 72% of independents.

Liberal democrats polled least likely to support a Mormon (41%).  White evangelical Christians placed second, with about 34% saying they would not vote for a Mormon candidate.


We’ve seen our fair share of liberal anti-Mormon ugliness (Bill Maher and Lawrence O’Donnell, for example). But I’m betting that most liberal Democrats say they’d reject Mormon candidates because of the strong association between Mormonism and conservatism cemented by the likes of Glenn Beck as well as by the LDS Church’s own heavy, decades-long investment in anti-LGBT equality politics.

But what about white evangelical Christians who should be natural allies with Mormons on social conservative issues, especially opposition to marriage equality? Credit more than a century of anti-Mormon dogmatism by evangelical Christian preachers, including overt media and organizing campaigns to depict Mormons (and not just our beliefs) as “dangerous,” diabolical, and alien.

What’s most curious to me is that the small minority of Americans who maintain this dogmatically intolerant view of Mormons—about 33% of white evangelical Christians, who make up about 25% of the population—believe that their distorted views on Mormonism should set the national agenda.

With Romney the unquestioned frontrunner at this point, will the GOP establishment be ready to take on the anti-Mormon extremism of the white evangelical minority?

Do they dare?