Romney's faith a factor for GOP primary?
November 23rd, 2011
10:21 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney's faith a factor for GOP primary?

(CNN)-If half the public says they don't know very much about Mormonism and one-third of Republicans say the Mormon religion is not a Christian faith, how will GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney fare in his bid for the White House?

According to a new national survey, it won't affect Romney in a hypothetical general election faceoff with President Barack Obama, but his Mormon faith may have an impact on the former Massachusetts governor's chances in the GOP primaries and caucuses.

Romney is seeking the Republican presidential nomination for a second time and, as it turns out, opinions about his religion haven't changed since he ran the first time, in 2007.

A Pew Research Center poll released late Tuesday indicates that 52% of Americans said they knew "not very much" or nothing about the Mormon religion in 2007, when Romney sought the presidency for the first time, and 50% say the same now. The number who say Mormonism is a Christian religion-51%–is the same in 2011 as it was in 2007.

The poll also indicates that Republican voters who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination. Romney's faith may have a bigger impact on his chances in the GOP primary than the general election.

When asked about their preference among eight Republican contenders, Romney edged out businessman Herman Cain for the top spot in the poll 23-22% among GOP registered voters. The one-percentage-point difference between the two candidates falls within the sampling error for the poll and indicates Cain and Romney are statistically tied among Republicans and GOP-leaning voters.

Among white evangelical Protestants, however, Cain has a nine percentage point lead over Romney-26% said they'd choose the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza in a GOP primary, 19% said they'd choose former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and 17% said they'd support Romney, placing him third. Fifteen percent of evangelicals also said Romney's faith would make them less likely to support him.

When white Catholics and white "mainline" Protestants were questioned about their primary picks, Romney placed first, Cain second, and Gingrich third.

But in a hypothetical general election matchup between Romney and the incumbent President Barack Obama, 87% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters would coalesce around Romney, a number that increases to 91% among white evangelical Protestants, the group that favored Cain for the nomination.

Tied with Catholics, the poll shows more white evangelical Protestants and Catholics back Romney over Obama in a general election than white "mainline" Protestants-84% said they'd choose Romney in the poll. So while he may have more competition in the GOP primary among evangelicals, if Romney advances to the general, the poll reveals he'd have their support.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted from November 9-14 by telephone among 1,576 registered voters and 716 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters. The overall sampling error of the poll is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The sampling error for Republican and Republican-leaning voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • GOP • Mitt Romney • Polls
soundoff (248 Responses)

    SCribner.Yes our Founding Christian FAthers WILL ROLL OVER IN THEIR GRAVES IF WE ELECT ANOTHER NON-BELIEVER to the office of the presidency ! God will surely bring down his wrath on this country !! PRay for wisdom to do what is right for our nation this time around....America's survival depends upon it !!

    November 23, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. max

    cant help but blame those "god hating liberals". theyll support that representative of evil, obama. romney, the deluded cult worshipper, just distracts from a real god-fearing candidate like -insert name here- who could beat evil obama and turn the USA onto the right path again.


    November 23, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. SoCal70

    Hey Mindie from Indie... Obama has accomplished nothing, zero, zip, zilch. NOTHING. Don't be fooled by the man in the White House. He's a puppet on his last strings.

    Aside from that, I'm floored at the level of ignorance towards the LDS religion shown here as well as the astounding level of religious bigots that have voiced their so-called opinions. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. You may call yourselves Americans but I don't. Get a grip people. AND a clue.

    November 23, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. Tony

    Well we already have a Muslim president so I don't think having a Mormon in there.

    November 23, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Shane Botwin

    There's no way the right wing whack jop Republicans would ever vote for a Mormon, because they don't send checks and meds in the mail.

    November 23, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. TJeff1776

    There are major differences between all religions. In reading newspaper articles in the 1840's, EACH CHURCH taught that all the rest were going to hell and burn forever....and didn't mind saying so. Another "catch phrase" was depicting each other as a "cult". The Mormon church's official title is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". SO where do some of these Protestant denominations conjure up such a misnomer that Mormons are non-Christian. IF they say they are....then they are. SO WHAT. Thats their business. What business is there of any Church or preacher to point the accusing finger and determine who is Christian and who isn't. ....true answer...NONE.

    November 23, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. sara

    There is alot more to Not vote for this "LIAR, Corporations are People too"

    November 23, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  8. Cindy

    I am middle-left. But I also have a problem with the Mormon religion. A lot of older americans remember when we were having so much trouble with them. They were more on the order of Warren Jeffs. I know the main church did not practice that, but they turned a blind-eye toward those that did. The Christian faith must follow the devine words of Jesus, and accept him as the Savior. Mommonist accepts him as an equal to their prophet Joseph Smith, an american treasure hunter. That makes it a non-christian religion. Just saying you are christian, does not make it so. I could not vote for Romney or Huntsman .

    November 23, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. Brett

    I hope Newt Gingrich is the nominee so he can get his long overdue and much deserved comeuppance from the American people.

    November 23, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. Lost all respect for Josh

    Josh....this is to you....I have read all the posts on here and what is wrong with said you are a religious teacher...and all you do is bash mormons about not being can you say a person doesn't believe in can't you don't know...Christ does...all the mormons i know believe in Christ and from what i can see they life a Christ like life...I have lost all respect for you give christians a bad stop repeating the normal anti-mormon stuff that is taken out of context...have a good thanksgiving

    November 23, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  11. dipstick

    Only libs will try to make it an issue...better than the anti-christ that is in the WH now!

    November 23, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Max

    Cult member

    Romney is a member of a cult, Period. How does he expect evangelicals to support him? He seems afraid also to explain to Americans what Mormonism really is and how his values as a cult member will influence his decision -making process.

    Come on Romney .MAN UP' and explain yourself to us!

    November 23, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  13. dnick47

    Mormons are not Christians. Thay deny the diety of Christ; therefore they are anti-Christ.

    November 23, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. counterviews

    Why should Romney's religious beliefs be an issue? He believes in a religion founded and rooted in this country. Look what is in the White House these days; a person of a faith that is contrary to, and potentially dangerous to, the interests of the United States. Would Romney be more electable if he proclaimed he was a Muslim??

    November 23, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Cindy

    Most religions,, Jewish, Muslin, Christian go back to about 300 AD. Mormanism goes back to an american treasure hunter, who wanted 100 wives about 150 years ago. It is not recognized as a religion. They are not Christians. Your american ancestors did not recognize them as a legimate religion and chased them from the east coast, to the mid-west, where the killed him and run the rest off to Utah. They practised pologamy until the 1950's. They have always had a cult-like status.

    November 23, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  16. A Mormon

    I'm a mormon. I'm not the best mormon out there. I don't always go to church, I regularly skip in fact, but I still try to be a good mormon. I like to think I'm better than the way people talk about my religion, which is not who I am. If somebody were to ask me who I was I wouldn't immediately respond "Oh I'm a mormon" anymore than a Catholic would. I am a person. I believe some admittedly strange things, but if you're going to believe in God at all it's hard to say someone's crazy for the odder parts of their religion. The bible says its okay to own a slave so long as their from another country, this doesn't mean our christian presidents have Canadians as slaves. A lot of the crazier stuff you hear about us are from the off-shoots of mormonism, for example: I am not a polygamist. No "mormon" has been a polygamist for over 100 years. Yes we baptize the dead, but only our direct ancestors. This doesn't force conversion on them, they get the choice in the afterlife, I know its kind of out there, but so is a virgin giving birth to Jesus. So don't judge

    November 23, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. true that

    I hope all morons don't lie like he make up a lie on what Obama said when John Macain. Actually said it. It's. A shame!

    November 23, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  18. true that

    I hope all mormons don't lie like he does. To run an add and lie on Obama when John Macain said it is not awful.

    November 23, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  19. Benjamin

    It's quite plain that Mormons are not Christians. Mormons use similar language, such as Jesus is the Son of God, Father, salvation, etc., but they hold totally different definitions/understandings of these people and principles. What a Christian believes about Jesus and what a Mormon believes about Jesus are very different. It's a fact. Mormonism can be its own "religion" but if they claim to be Christians, they are heretics and very big ones at that. One reason is Mormonism is a polytheistic religion - they believe in multiple gods and that people can become gods, which is what they believe about Jesus.

    November 23, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  20. KB

    Romney is a Mormon. The name of their church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" I'm not a mormon but it is in their TITLE! the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST! If that doesn't spell christian then I don't know what does. Who cares what religion they are Vote for the candidate that can get us out of this MESS we are in!!!!

    November 23, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. mrh

    These comments are laughable and ignorant. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ("Mormons") in no way supports, by word or funds or anything else, any political party, candidate, or agenda except on the rare occasion when the integrity of Gods commandments and creation. Like the sanctity of marriage for example, are at risk of being destroyed, thus compromising the integrity of many churches' rights to marry in holy places.

    I don't know Romney or his heart, but i know that Jesus Christ suffered and atoned for all of our sins and pains and He died for ALL mankind. I know that He is our savior and redeemer, that He walked this earth, healed the sick, and fed the hungry. He is our exemplar and we should do as he does and love and serve ALL. I also know that The Book of Mormon is ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ and is the record of his ministry here in the Americas. Just as the Bible is a true account of prophets and Christ, so is this book.

    God gave us free agency; we are he to use it the way we feel is right. Vote for whomever you wish based on the character and political standards of each candidate. Romney will run this country based on those, not on his religion. But he may be a better man for it. Of course I couldn't say, I've never met the guy, but i know many "Mormons" who are better fathers, husbands, and friends because of the standards they adhere too, just as many others who adhere to the standards of their own churches are better for it.

    November 23, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  22. Gary

    How many people did Romney force to be baptized in MA? He actually held many beliefs that were contrary to the church while governor. If it isn't a christian religion, why is it called the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints?

    November 23, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. bill

    Please, anyone but obama.

    November 23, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. provider

    What is worse? Romney's religion or Jeremiah Wright's religion?
    Here is where the discussion should be: Obama and increased spending, followed by wealthy tax increases as an after thought... OR Romney who did a fantastic job of cutting the fat from the Massachusetts budget. He put that state back to fiscal sanity.

    November 23, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  25. Thomas

    If Romney's Faith stands for having five sons , none of whom volunteered for military service in a time of war .

    Then yes , I wont vote for him !

    As for Mitt's belief , thats his to flip !

    November 24, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10