Backgrounder: Public Opinion About Mormons

Posted December 6, 2007 at 3:21pm

Read full analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Recent Pew polling finds that Mitt Romney, more than any other presidential candidate (Republican or Democrat), is viewed as very religious by the public. This perception is, for the most part, an asset for Romney’s campaign, since the poll also finds that voters who see presidential candidates as religious express more favorable views toward those candidates. But the advantage Romney stands to gain from these perceptions is partially offset by the concerns of some Americans about the Mormon religion, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is popularly known. Overall, one-in-four respondents to a recent nationwide Pew survey said that they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president.

This reluctance appears to be based on a mixture of negative perceptions and a lack of knowledge about Mormonism. Barely half of the public (49%) says they know “a great deal” or “some” about the Mormon religion, and just 25% believe that the Mormon religion and their own religion have a lot in common. Just 53% of the public expresses a favorable opinion of Mormons.