22 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon


Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have some extra hurdles to jump in the race for the White House: convincing voters they won’t force Americans into polygamy, restore prohibition or integrate other Mormon stereotypes into the Oval Office.

A recent Gallop Poll shows 22 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon. Stereotypes and sentiments surrounding Mormons frequently make their mark on LDS candidates running for office, and often, these stereotypes are inaccurate or wrong.

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds news conference after talking with local business owners at a town hall meeting in Hampton, N.H., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
The results of the same Gallup Poll, taken in 2004,  showed a similar result to the 2011 results when 24 percent of voters said they would not vote for a Mormon.

Negative images influencing almost a quarter of voters can break a campaign when many elections are decided by a difference of only one or two percent. Mormon stereotypes were among the strongest indicators of the various results shown in the Gallup Poll. The only groups scoring worse than Mormons were homosexuals (32 percent) and atheists (49 percent). The same poll showed 5 percent of voters would not vote for an African-American president, 6 percent would not vote for a woman and 9 percent won’t vote for a Jewish person.

As 2012 presidential election media coverage heats up, and speculation abounds in the cable news networks, one trend seems to dominate conversation about Huntsman and Romney — anti-LDS sentiment. However, high anti-LDS sentiment across the nation has motivated many volunteers into restoring and building a better LDS image.

Jim Dabakis, is a Utah state Democratic chair hopeful.

“I’m really disturbed in America that we have that kind of prejudice and bias,” he said in a news release. “In this day and age, there is no room in America — especially in our political system — for religious bias. Misunderstandings and ignorant presumptions on what it means to be LDS need to be confronted on a massive scale.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has requested that candidates running for office not imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.

“The Church does encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections,” said the official political neutrality statement released by the Church.

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