As Mitt Romney becomes the first significant presidential candidate practicing the Mormon faith since his father, Gov. George Romney, in 1967, a new Gallup poll finds that a significant portion of the American public still would not vote for a Mormon candidate.
Bias against a Mormon candidate has held remarkably steady since Mitt Romney’s father originally ran for president in 1968. He lost the Republican nomination to Richard Nixon.
Today, 18 per cent of people say they would not vote for a Mormon to be president. That’s virtually the same as 1967 (17 per cent). It’s also up from four years ago, when Romney first ran for president but lost the nomination to John McCain.
Many people don’t know Romney is a Mormon. Only 57 per cent of people surveyed correctly identified his religion. So the effect this will have on his run is not exactly cut and dry, at this point. However, it could become a factor as more people learn that he is Mormon. There was a more significant bias among people who didn’t know Romney is Mormon.
Gallup’s Frank Newport writes that Mormon bias is rather remarkable, considering the declines in biases toward other potential presidential candidates:
The stability of resistance to a Mormon presidential candidate over the past 45 years is an anomaly, given that resistance to a candidate who is black, a woman, or Jewish has declined substantially over the same period of time.
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