Mormon Perspective and 2012

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A young supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney holds a sign about Mormons at a campaign rally in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 11, 2012

With Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential race and traditional Evangelical influence appearing to wane, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is playing an increasingly significant role in the American political conversation. On Thursday the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life unveiled an in-depth look at public perceptions of American Mormons — the first report of its kind ever published by a non-LDS research group. Here is a survey of some its most interesting findings:

  • A majority of Mormons (56%) say the U.S. is ready for a Mormon President. It’s a sign that Mormons are beginning to feel accepted in American society, although nearly half say they face discrimination.
  • 74% of Mormon voters identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, far more than the 45% of the nation’s registered voters who do the same. This makes Mormons the most conservative group among America’s largest religions — white Evangelicals come in second at 68%. Only 17% of Mormons are Democrats.
  • Romney is viewed favorably by 86% of Mormon voters — including 94% of Mormon Republicans and even 62% of Mormon Democrats. Jon Huntsman’s rating is lower at 50%, but it is predictably higher at 70% in Utah, where he was governor.
  • Only 25% of Mormon voters view President Obama favorably. That’s significantly lower than the national average of Obama’s 46% approval rating, according to this week’s Gallup poll.
  • 52% of Mormons believe that news coverage of their faith is fair, while 38% think it is not.
  • Religious tensions will be tested in the South Carolina primary and beyond. Christian or Christ-centered were the top phrases Mormons use to describe their faith, but the No. 1 word the general public uses to describe Mormonism is cult.

Check out the full report here.