About half of all voters, and 60% of evangelical Republicans, know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. The former Massachusetts governor’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election, should he be nominated as his party’s standard bearer.
White evangelical Protestants – a key element of the GOP electoral base – are more inclined than the public as a whole to view Mormonism as a non-Christian faith. And this view is linked to opinions about Romney: Republicans who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination and offer a less favorable assessment of him generally. But they seem prepared to overwhelmingly back him in a run against Obama in the general election.
These are the principal findings from a new national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted Nov. 9-14 among 2,001 adults, including 1,576 registered voters. In the race for the GOP nomination, Romney trails Herman Cain by nine points (26% to 17%) among white evangelical Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Romney leads among white mainline Protestant Republicans (26% to 17% over Cain) and runs about even with Cain among white Catholic Republican voters (26% Romney, 23% Cain).
Religious beliefs of voters, though, is a different matter.