Pew Survey: Majority of Mormons Lean Republican; Half Cite Discrimination Against Their Faith
With Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith often under the microscope, a new survey to be released Thursday finds that most Mormons feel they are misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by Americans as part of mainstream society.
In a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, a majority of Mormons cite misperceptions about their faith, discrimination and lack of acceptance as the biggest challenges facing them. Two-thirds, or 68 percent, feel they are not viewed as mainstream by society, while six in 10 say that Americans in general are uninformed about the Mormon faith. Nearly half of those polled, about 46 percent, say there is “a lot” of discrimination against their faith, while 54 percent feel that Mormons’ portrayal in television and movies hurts their image.
Evangelical Christians particularly are singled out by Mormons as the group that is unfriendly toward them. In a previous Pew poll, roughly half of evangelical Christians said Mormonism is not a Christian religion, higher than the national average of 32 percent who feel that way.
At the same time, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints express optimism about the future, with 63 percent saying that acceptance of their faith is on the rise.
Amid questions about his faith, one point that Romney has repeatedly made on the campaign trail is that he is a Christian, a sentiment that is echoed in the survey. An overwhelming 97 percent of Mormons describe themselves as Christians.
But the survey finds that a number of Mormon tenets are distinct from other Christian traditions. More than 90 percent of Mormons surveyed said they believe that God and Jesus Christ are separate physical beings, that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets, that the president of their church is a prophet of God, and that families can be bound together eternally in Mormon temple ceremonies.