Tales from the Trail

Romney’s religion still an issue for many Republicans

March 6, 2012

Mitt Romney might be looking to open up an unassailable lead over rival Rick Santorum in the 10 “Super Tuesday” nominating contests, but he still faces questions among many of his fellow Republicans about his Mormon religion, according to recent NBC/Marist poll results.

NBC/Marist found that large numbers of Republicans voters — a range of 37 to 44 percent — in two of the states holding primaries on March 6 – Ohio and Virginia – and others that voted last week - Michigan and Arizona  – do not believe that Mormons are Christians, or are unsure whether they are.

The percentages were the same in Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, where 44 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they did not believe that Mormons are Christians or were not sure, and 56 percent said they do believe a Mormon is a Christian, according to the polls. Polling was done in all of the states before they held their primaries.

In Arizona, 63 percent of likely Republican voters polled before the primary believed Mormons were Christians, while 37 percent did not or weren’t sure.  In Florida, 60 percent of likely Republican primary voters said Mormons were Christians, and 40 percent did not or were not sure.

The polls found some correlations between those views and support for Mitt Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the formal name for Mormonism, compared with his main rival, Rick Santorum, a former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania best known for his unflinchingly religious conservative views on issues such as opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.

In Ohio, the biggest prize among the 10 Super Tuesday states, NBC/Marist found that Romney led Santorum by 38 percent to 28 percent among likely Republican voters who believe Mormons are Christians. But among those who don’t or who are unsure, Santorum led Romney by 41 percent to 24 percent. Santorum is not on Virginia’s primary ballot.

In Michigan, Romney led Santorum 45 percent to 28 percent among those who say Mormons are Christians, but Santorum led 44 percent to 26 percent among the other group. Romney won the Michigan primary by 41.1 percent to 37.9 percent for Santorum. In Arizona, Romney led Santorum 53 percent to 22 percent among likely Republican voters who said Mormons are Christians, but Santorum led 37 percent to 26 percent among the other group. Romney won the Arizona primary by 47.3 percent to 26.6 percent to Santorum.

Mormons make up nearly 2 percent of the U.S. population, and Romney would be the first Mormon U.S. president. Mormons see themselves as Christian, but they battle the perception by some non-Mormons that they are a cult based on their belief in living apostles and prophets, two additional books of scripture besides the Bible and other tenets.

These views might be sapping Romney’s support in Republican primaries and caucuses, but it is not certain how they would affect him in a general election fight against Democratic President Barack Obama in November. Romney has not won the support of evangelical Christian voters in any primary or caucus so far, but this could be because many are wary over more moderate positions he took on social issues while running for office in Massachusetts, a mostly Democratic state where he became governor and lost a U.S. Senate race.

A Pew survey last year concluded that Romney’s presidential candidacy could face resistance in the Republican primaries from evangelical Christian voters, but they would support him over the Democratic incumbent Obama.

Picture credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Comments
14 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The problem for Romney concerning this matter is mainly those ignorant evangelicals! They don’t view “Mormons” as Christians mainly because “Mormons don’t believe in the three in one Trinity that they believe in. The reason is that “Mormons” are not dumb enough to believe that Christ would pray to Himself, or land on Himself at His own baptism throwing His voice from heaven saying that He was well pleased with Himself, or that part of Him would know when He would return again, but the other part wouldn’t! “For the time will come when they will not endure sound [logical]doctrine!!!

Posted by GeorgeD | Report as abusive
 

I couldn’t care less what religious Romney practices, and whether mormons are “true Christians.” They can call themselves what they like. I’m just appalled at the thought of having a mormon for our PRESIDENT. I spent many years in an office working for mormons, so I think I’ve experienced quite a bit of how they are and what they do. I don’t think I’ve met many mormons whose solution to a problem is to deny there’s even a problem. Everything that goes wrong, they sweep it under the table. That’s just how they’re trained to live their lives. It’s always show the outside to be pleasant, neat, clean, conservative, with no indication that anything is wrong. They will go to great lengths to cover up their mistakes and faults. It’s such a “put on a front” religion. No matter what’s broken on the inside, just make sure the outside looks fine and pretend nothing is wrong. If I could possibly list here 14 years’ worth of stories, you would understand. What goes on in the families you will never know. How they act in private is a much different story than what you see in public. I have caught many instances of their interactions with each other when they were not aware I was watching or listening. It would make your blood curdle. If you had any idea just how many of them I have interacted with, from average families way to those who have extremely important positions in the mormon religion, as well as those with family ties to well-known mormons in history, you would understand why I feel this way. Having Romney as our President scares me to death much more than Obama being re-elected. It really is a religion that places incredible emphasis on what something looks like on the outside being acceptable than what is really happening on the inside. I dread to think I now how to waste my vote on Obama just to try to keep a mormon of out the office of the presidency. What a shame. If Santorum can pull out ahead somehow and become the Republican nominee, I fear that is the only way I can vote for a Republican this time around.

Posted by Roundtree | Report as abusive
 

A lot of misconception is apparent about religion. But not knowing about something doesn’t make it wrong, bad, or scary. Mitt Romney is quiet about his religion because people are getting rather awkward about it. It is as good and clean of a verion of Christianity as you would get in an imperfect world.
If people want to understand about religion or anything eles there are ways to learn. But don’t make it an issue for political decisions unless you think you have a good reason. Use some common sense in other words.

Posted by whtaker | Report as abusive
 

their is no such thing as a god, unless you have proof.

Posted by fredhill22 | Report as abusive
 

Did you read where Mitt Romney’s family had his wife’s father baptized as a Mormon — after his death. Yes, that do that — baptism of the deceased — in the Mormon cult. Very odd.

Posted by mjp1958 | Report as abusive
 

If you want to know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–the Mormons, and what we believe about the Savior of the world, go here
http://mormon.org/jesus-christ/

Posted by lrh51 | Report as abusive
 

The evangelical voters are split in their support of Mitt Romney between those who are more familiar with Mormons and their faith in Jesus Christ and those who have sat in SOME congregations where the pastor or minister keep repeating the lie that Mormons are not Christian and therefore a cult. I have evangelical friends and non-mormon relatives whose pastors have said such vile things about Mormons that they know are not true that they have left the congregations. Until this hatred preaching is stopped the problem will not go away. And since we all believe in free speech, we just have to keep seeking and teaching the truth.

Posted by sarakeiser | Report as abusive
 

it is not a religion it is a anomaly… ungodly and wrong… voting for obama is better than this christian raider…

Posted by Ocala123456789 | Report as abusive
 

The hate among the various religious cults is prevalent.Christians hate the caholics, and jews and mormons, and muslems, and buddhists, and cofucionists, and anyone that doesen’t believe as they do is sentenced to hell. I don’t think I like these people.

Posted by Terwilliker | Report as abusive
 

I cant believe your uneducated babble about the LDS church and its members, last time I checked we are all free to believe and worship in any way we please, just because they have different tenants to their faith, does not translate into a lack of expierience in governance. Who would you rather have as a neighbor? A Mormon or a Catholic or a Baptist, They are all God fearing people, and just like everything in life, there are good and bad in all.

Posted by jalm74 | Report as abusive
 

Please study your BIBLE… 1 Corinthians 15:

28 And when all things shall be asubdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be bsubject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

For anyone who calls himself christian….Do not be light in your comments about spiritual things, the spiritual and eternal laws were perfectly created. Respect them.

Posted by 12mml | Report as abusive
 

Interestingly, I have been comparing and contrasting JFK’s Catholic issue (in 1960) against Romney’s Mormon issue (in 2012) and see significant differences which, in a puzzling way, have really not been addressed in a more public forum. I suppose, like race, it is not going to be P.C. for the media to pick it up.

In JFK’s case, the Catholic church is based in Rome, Italy. In Romney’s case, his church, which professes to be only true church on the face of the earth, is based in Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

In JFK’s case, Catholics don’t, as Mormons do, make sacred covenants to consecrate all that they have (time, talents, resources) to their church… and do so in the most sacred places, their temples.

If there is to be no religious test (or at least an ethical or moral test), then it would be interesting to see how the American electorate will react to a candidate for President, or the Supreme Court, who happens to be a devout Muslim… who just might happen to believe in, and support, Sharia Law.

It seems there should be some more public discussion over this matter. The reality is our domestic and international affaires are much different than they were over 200 years ago when Article VI of the Constitution was established. And they are even different since 1960.

Posted by Lamanite | Report as abusive
 

If people really know about Mormons they would not vote for Romney, Mormonism is a man-made religion, they say they are Christian and they act like Christian, “Fruits of the Spirit” will show the evil in them.Who ever votes for Romney should be praying for the trust to came out,and yes I was a Mormon.

Posted by MarshaB | Report as abusive
 

Mitt Romney’s religion is an interesting part of his life and nothing more. Our family was discussing this during our last family home evening. (We like to keep our kids interested in the political process, and since there is a candidate running who is a church member, FHE is a great time to talk about it. That beats an FHE on DVD lesson, I guess.)

Anyway, if he stands strong, and doesn’t shy away from his faith, I don’t think this will hurt him, once people come to realize that his religion is just giving him a strong, moral code and beliefs to live his life by.

Posted by MaryAnnDill | Report as abusive
 

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