CNN Poll: Mormon candidate not a problem for most Americans
October 19th, 2011
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Mormon candidate not a problem for most Americans

(CNN) - Americans overwhelmingly say a presidential candidate being Mormon wouldn't affect their vote, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday.

The survey, which was taken after a controversial pastor said Mormonism was a "cult" and that GOP voters should support a "competent Christian," also shows a majority of Americans believe Mormons are Christians.

Eighty percent of respondents in the survey said a candidate's Mormonism wouldn't make a difference in their selection process, while 17% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was Mormon. Three percent said they would be more likely to select a Mormon candidate.

Two candidates running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination are Mormons: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah governor and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

The issue of Mormon candidates became an issue on the campaign trail in early October, when Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, decried Mormonism as a "cult" to reporters at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, singling out Romney in particular.

"I think Mitt Romney's a good, moral man, but those of us who are born again followers of Christ should prefer a competent Christian," Jeffress said.

On Tuesday, Jeffress published an opinion article in the Washington Post that sought to clarify his remarks while maintaining the importance of religion in presidential politics.

"While I prefer a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian, religion is not the only consideration in choosing a candidate," Jeffress wrote. "Frankly, Christians have not always made good presidents. We must also consider whether a candidate is competent to lead and govern according to biblical principles."

Wednesday's poll also asked respondents if they believed Mormonism was a Christian religion. Fifty-one percent said it was, while 36% said it was not. Thirteen percent weren't sure.

At the CNN Western Leadership Conference Debate Tuesday night, the issue arose again when Perry was asked by fellow candidate Mitt Romney about the pastor's comment.

Perry said that he "didn't agree with that individual's statement."

"That individual expressed an opinion," Perry said. "I didn't agree with it, Mitt, and I said so. But the fact is, Americans understand faith. And what they've lost faith in is the current resident of the White House."

Romney said he wasn't bothered by the "cult" remark.

"I've heard worse, so I'm not going to lose sleep over that," Romney said.

The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted by telephone, polling 1,007 adults, between October 14-16. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • Mitt Romney • Religion
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "CNN Poll: Mormon candidate not a problem for most Americans"

    The rabid right wing extremist religio-fascist fundamentalist GOP base and its Teatroll army are not "most Americans."

    October 19, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    I have no issues with the beliefs of a Mormon politician. I often have issues with the very conservative policy positions of most Mormon politicians. The relationship of the LDS church with the assorted Christian denominations is something that theologians can argue to their hearts' content. Just as long as I don't have to listen.

    October 19, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Well, that pretty much clears the runway for Mitt to make a landing at the Whitehouse come Jan. 2013. Guess Obama and the left playing the Mormon card is out the window too. They are running out of dirty tricks and nothing by a record of failure. Not looking good for the teleprompter king!

    October 19, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. GOP = Greed Over People

    Which only goes to show that the bigotry only exists in the GOP base of baptists.

    Fine with me, it they want to black ball the only candidate that has a prayer in the general election.

    Keep using "party purity" as a primary filter, and the country will be in a better place.

    October 19, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Robb714

    This Poll or article fails to shed light on the real issue regarding the subject and highlights only the in the darkness of 51% of the people polled.

    October 19, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Most Americans do not place priority on a politician's religion. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case with extreme right wing currently calling the shots in the Republican Party.

    October 19, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Repubtee-bagger Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    No matter who turns out to be the biggest loser of the GOPtee-bagger fantasy circus – none are worthy to clean up after the elephants let alone hold any elective office.
    Of course Obama was correct to steer clear of all the right-wing religious bigotry, better to leave bigotry to the professionals – the GOP.
    Obama will win no matter which mad-hatter gets anointed.

    October 19, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Matt

    To this day Thier are no black mormans in the elite bunch of White bigots which Huntsman sr just got kicked off of. This very powerful group of 70 or so will never allow a black man as an elder. Its almost 2012 & This Cult is still run completely by White, whiter & Whitest men. Huntman jr says it aint about religion, yea cause his is not one. Yes I have a major problem with this Cult that does not allow blacks in its highest group. Nobody including CNN wont touch this with a ten foot pole, WHY? Martin Luther King is not smiling from heaven over this. Secret White cult & Tax exempt, You gotta be kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. AZ Dem

    In the General it probably will not be a problem but in the GOP primary and especially the South Romney is going to have trouble getting the Evangelicals on his side..look at the polls and his support has stayed virtually the same throughout never really hitting above 40%.

    October 19, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Stacey

    Come on people! Of course most Americans don't have a problem with mormon candidates. Most Americans have moved on from racial and religious bigotry. It's southern white evangelicals who can't seem to understand that the god and Jesus they claim to worship supposedly made us all in his image, including mormons. That's why Romney will be the GOPs presidential nominee.

    October 19, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. MTATL67

    As long as they respected the rights and believes of others, I would have no issue. We are not fundamentalist religious state.

    October 19, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    To bad for Romney the 17% in the poll that are bigots are in 27% that is the Repub base, so only 10% of the base is okay with Mormons.
    Sounds like all you bigots will need to up your meds for Obama’s second term.

    October 19, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Stacey

    Well, that pretty much clears the runway for Mitt to make a landing at the Whitehouse come Jan. 2013. Guess Obama and the left playing the Mormon card is out the window too. They are running out of dirty tricks and nothing by a record of failure. Not looking good for the teleprompter king!

    ---------------------
    Wasn't it that nutty right winged evangelical pastor that played the mormon card by saying the mormon religion was "a cult?" Stop blaming the "left" for the GOP being so pathetic. The "left" didn't block the jobs bill, the left didn't obstruct everything the president tried to do to help Americans, the "left" didn't hold the country hostage with the debt ceiling so that the GOP can continue to take care of the rich, etc. it goes on and on. BTW, the GOP candidates are so pathetic and inept, Obama will win re-election just like he won the presidency because GWBush was so lousy. Amazing how it works out.

    October 19, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Tell that to the TEAvangelical right wing. They will not vote for a mormon. And they are not majority of Americans.

    October 19, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Matt

    How much money are the Huntsman family paying CNN to not adress this?

    October 19, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    How many times do we have to tell you? Nobody (for the most part) gives a flying rat's pink patoot that he's a Mormon. It's the fact that he's a MORON that's a problem.

    October 19, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. tykl

    @ Matt: I am not going to engage in your comment more than to just say that some reading would go a long ways in realizing that there is no base for your comment.

    October 19, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    One letter makes all the difference.

    October 19, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country.....
    49th out of 50 states in job creation as governor, and he was only saved from last by Katrina. Get your facts straight before you crown your president, seer, and revelator. He will get chopped to pieces for Romneycare before he get the nod, and Obama will compliment him on establishing the model. Savor the irony, since you will have nothing but tears after that, as your annointed one will lose, and then be called as a General Authority for his beloved Church the evangelicals can't stomach.

    October 19, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Independent Voter

    Sniffit – Wall Street is calling ! Go hang out there for a while.

    October 19, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. insert sarcastic remark here

    Poll results:

    87% of people won't believe poll numbers they disagree with because they "don't know anyone that was polled"

    92% of people don't understand what a representative sample is

    47.3% of statistics are made up on the spot

    October 19, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. G D

    Who cares about Mitt's faith? What everyone should care about is his flip-flopping record. Plus, an inability to be truthful about many of his past positions, and his monumental struggle to put him self ever-further to the fringes. I don't see any good ideas from Mitt or most of the others lined up, and that has nothing to do with their religious beliefs.

    October 19, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Independent Voter

    Mormons are not a problem, Romney is.

    October 19, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Independent Voter

    Repubtee-bagger Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Guess we just leave the political bigotry to folks like you huh ?

    October 19, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Is it OK for me to be against Mittens because he takes every side of every important issue. Corporations may be Mittens kind of people, but they do not seem to be willing to help Americans.

    October 19, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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