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Since Mitt Romney’s father’s presidential run in 1968, Americans have become a lot more tolerant of political candidates who are black, Jewish, or female. However, a new poll finds that, since then, many voters remain very much uncomfortable with a Mormon politician.
The new Gallup shows that nearly 1 in 5 (18 percent) Americans say they would not vote for a qualified presidential candidate who happens to be Mormon. The figure is virtually the same as the 17 percent who responded negatively in 1967 when Gallup first posed the question, shortly after Michigan Gov. George Romney formed an exploratory committee for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination.
However, in the short term, voters’ tolerance towards Mormons has increased from the 22 percent opposition last year, and the all-time high of 24 percent in 2007, the year Mitt announced his first bid for the White House.
A quarter of Democrats responded that they wouldn’t vote to put a Mormon in the White House, higher than the 18 percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans who expressed the same attitude. Meanwhile, 23 percent of respondents with a high school education or less won’t support a Mormon candidate compared with just 6 percent of those with postgraduate education.
The good news for Romney, however, is that voters can only hold his faith against him if they know about it and, at least currently, that's not the case for the 43 percent of Americans. (Thirty-three percent said they didn't know the presumptive GOP candidate's religion, while the other ten percent was split among those who misidentified him as a Protestant, Catholic or "other.")
You can read the full Gallup results here.