12/04/2007 - On Thursday Dec. 6, 2007, Mitt Romney will deliver an address outlining the way his religious faith has influenced his political career. Recent Pew polling finds that 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, and those who take this point of view express substantially more negative views of Romney, compared with those who express no such reservations about voting for a Mormon.
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. Moreover, three-in-ten Americans (31%) say they do not believe that Mormons are Christians, and another 17% say they are unsure about this.
Read the full backgrounder Public Opinion About Mormons on the Pew Research Center Web site.