Poll: Traits that Negatively Affect Support for Presidential Hopefuls

It makes no difference to most Americans if a presidential candidate is Catholic, Jewish or Mormon, a recent Time poll found.

The latest poll featured in Time magazine's July 23 issue found that if a presidential candidate was Catholic, Jewish or Mormon, it wouldn't affect the support of 66 percent, 68 percent and 56 percent of adult Americans, respectively.

At the same time, Americans were more likely to say a Catholic of Jewish candidate would make them more supportive than less supportive. When it came to a Mormon candidate, however, Americans were more likely to say they would be less supportive (30 percent) than more supportive (11 percent).

A fundamentalist Christian presidential candidate, meanwhile, makes 29 percent of Americans more supportive and 29 percent less supportive while 37 percent said it makes no difference.

And characteristics of a candidate that most negatively affects Americans' support include being Muslim (46 percent say it makes them less supportive), atheist (59 percent), pro-abortion rights (39 percent), or pro-gay rights (40 percent).

As leading Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential race embrace faith and conservative Evangelicals are finding themselves without a leading Republican candidate of their choice, Time asked 1,175 Americans of their perception of the leading candidates' faith in both parties.

Americans were more likely to say Republican candidate Mitt Romney (26 percent) and Democratic candidate Barack Obama (24 percent) are strongly religious. Republicans John McCain (43 percent) and Rudolph Giuliani (41 percent) led as "moderately religious" candidates. Senators Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were viewed as moderately religious by 38 percent and 36 percent, respectively, of Americans.

Americans were most likely to describe Clinton as "not religious" with 24 percent agreeing.

The public was also asked if religious values should serve as a guide to what our political leaders do in office.

Recording political and religious groups who agree, Time found that 8 percent of liberal atheists/agnostics, 23 percent of Jews, 31 percent of liberals, 38 percent of Democrats, 49 percent of independents, 52 percent of Catholics as well as all registered voters, 63 percent of Protestants, 74 percent of Republicans and conservatives as well, and 88 percent of born-again fundamentalists agree.

The Time poll was conducted by Pulsar Research and Consulting May 10-13 and included 1,003 registered voters among the randomly selected 1,175 adult Americans.