A strong majority (67.5 percent) of those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not trust the media to cover their faith fairly, according to a new poll conducted by Key Research and the Center of the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University.
"After the diatribes of the Lawrence O'Donnell's of the world, who can blame them?" wrote Kelly D. Patterson, professor of political science at Brigham Young University and former director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, for the Utah Data Points blog, which first published the results of the poll.
O'Donnell is a liberal MSNBC host who has been accused of making inflammatory and bigoted statements about Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.
Though the poll was only conducted with Mormons in Utah, Patterson notes that LDS members in Utah "share many similarities with those outside the state," suggesting that the results are generalizable for LDS members nationally.
The poll also shows that Latter-day Saints have mixed feelings about the publicity that will come from having Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, as the Republican presidential nominee.
When asked what kind of publicity they thought the LDS Church will receive during the 2012 presidential race, most (68 percent) answered, "both good and bad publicity." About 20 percent said "mostly good publicity" and about seven percent answered "mostly bad publicity."
Overall, though, a strong majority of Latter-day Saints believe that Romney's candidacy will be good for the LDS Church.
The poll asked respondents, "Governor Mitt Romney is the first LDS (Mormon) candidate in history to win the presidential nomination of a major political party. Reflecting on this accomplishment, do you think it is overall a good thing or a bad thing for the LDS (Mormon) Church?"
Seventy-seven percent answered that it would be a good thing overall. Only two percent said Romney's candidacy would be a bad thing overall for the LDS Church. Twenty percent said they do not know.
The poll also showed a lot of excitement among Latter-day Saints for Romney's candidacy.
When asked if Romney's accomplishment of being the first Latter-day Saint to win the presidential nomination of a major political party made them feel excited or unexcited, 83 percent answered either "very excited" or "somewhat excited."
Patterson notes, however, that there is no way to tell whether these respondents were excited because they agreed with Romney's politics or because they shared his faith.
The sample of 341 Latter-day Saints was taken from a survey of 500 Utahans conducted June 12-19. The margin of error is 5.3 percent.