(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.