U.S. voters find religious belief important in a leader

November 8, 2011

(Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney listens as businessman Herman Cain (R) speaks at a Republican debate in Las Vegas, Nevada October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Marcus)

Two-thirds of Americans believe it is important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs, even if those beliefs are different than their own, a survey released on Tuesday found.

The survey of Americans’ attitudes by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found only one in five Americans would object to a candidate whose beliefs were different to their own.

When asked about specific religious faiths and the presidency, 29 percent of Americans would be uncomfortable with an evangelical Christian in the job, 53 percent would be uncomfortable with a Mormon, 64 percent with a Muslim, and 67 percent would be uncomfortable with an atheist as president.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman are Mormons running for president. The remaining Republican candidates are Christian, with some espousing strong beliefs.

Romney and businessman Herman Cain, a baptist, lead the pack in national polls.

Eight in 10 Americans believe creating jobs is the nation’s most important priority, the survey found, while six in 10 said reducing the government budget deficit is critical.

The survey confirmed a majority distrust the solutions being offered in Washington.

via Voters find religious belief important in leader | Reuters.

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