A new Gallup poll released today shows Democrats are much more likely to oppose a Mormon for president than Republicans – an interesting revelation since two of the Republican presidential candidates are Mormon.
Evangelicals and some Republicans were criticized during the 2008 presidential primary for their lack of support of Mitt Romney during his first run for the White House. Both Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Jon Huntsman, a former Utah governor, are running in this year’s Republican primary and are both practicing Mormons.
Surprisingly, the survey suggests a Mormon candidate running in the Democratic primary would have a difficult time winning the primary or succeeding in a general election.
“Mormons…still fall into that kind of category of the other, the unknown,” Laura Olson, a political science professor at Clemson University, told Fox News. Olson has written extensively on the subject of politics and religion.
The poll revealed that 27 percent of Democrats would not be willing to vote for a presidential candidate of their party who happened to be Mormon. Among Republicans, that number was only 18 percent.
One reason Democrats seem to be hesitant to support Mormon candidates is because the majority tend to associate themselves with the Republican Party, and also Mormons have taken a strong stance in opposing homosexual marriage.
Though most Mormon politicians tend to be Republican, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is Mormon as is Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). Republican Senators include Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The majority of the Mormon population in the U.S. is located in western states, such as Utah, where according to 2005 census numbers, Mormons make up approximately 70 percent of the state’s population. Also in 2005, Mormons claimed 12.5 million members worldwide with approximately half living in the U.S.
Mormons, who belong to the religious group officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, migrated to Utah in the mid-1800s because of their unorthodox views, such as having multiple wives (polygamy) and not believing Jesus Christ is the one true son of God. Other beliefs are eternal marriage and that the Book of Mormon, written by founder Joseph Smith, was divinely inspired. Mainstream Mormons no longer practice polygamy.
Interestingly, the Gallup poll found that the only groups voters distrusted more than Mormons were gay and lesbian candidates and atheists. Forty-nine percent of those polled said they would oppose an atheist for president and 32 percent said they would oppose a homosexual. Only 5 percent said they would oppose a black candidate.
The Gallup poll was based on telephone interviews conducted between June 9-12, 2011, with a random sample of 1,020 adults aged 18 and over and living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.