Poll Finds Voters are Biased Against Mormon Candidates But Not Mitt Romney

A new poll by a Santa Ana firm has good news and bad news for Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

The bad news, according to Lawrence Research, is 7-to-15% of voters are biased against Mormon candidates.

The good news: specific Mormon candidates, like the former Massachusetts governor, do much better among poll respondents.

The Lawrence of Lawrence Research, by the way, is pollster Gary Lawrence, whose Tustin Avenue firm conducted a July nationwide poll of 905 registered voters randomly dialed among a broader sample of 1,000 adults.

The poll discovered five times as many voters would never consider voting for a Mormon (20%) as compared to a Catholic or a Baptist (4%). As for support, 50% would definitely consider a Catholic and 47% a Baptist, but only 30% would definitely consider a Mormon.

Fortunately for Romney, he's getting a boost from large numbers of would-be voters who do not know he is Mormon, according to Lawrence, who said 85% of voters have heard of Mitt but only 41% realize he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That 41% is 13 points more likely to vote for a Mormon than someone whose religion they don't know, Lawrence adds.

Of course, none of these people have probably seen the South Park duo's The Book of Mormon musical yet.

The poll also found:

  • Only 11% know Jon Huntsman Jr., who is also seeking the GOP nod (look it up!), is Mormon;
  • 7% of voters correctly identify Michele Bachmann's evangelical Lutheranism;
  • 1% know Rick Perry is a Methodist;.
  • 17% still think Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Ah, the classics never die.

Lawrence, who has been conducting public opinion polls for 40 years, notes that he is a Mormon "who is uncommitted in the presidential race."

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