What Religion Problem? Protestants Prefer Romney
Protestants support Mormon Romney over Christian Obama, according to Gallup poll.
The idea that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is a liability that has been expressed throughout the 2012 presidential race. Some blamed his religion on why he didn’t have a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses. Others cited Mormonism as the reason Romney didn’t take the Southern states. On the other hand, Mormonism was singled out as the reason Romney excelled in Nevada, as the state boasts a sizeable Mormon population. Now that Rick Santorum has exited the race, however, Mormonism seems to be a non-factor for Romney. A new Gallup poll reveals that highly religious voters prefer him to President Barack Obama.
According to the poll of 2,157 voters — conducted April 19 to 23 — more than half (54 percent) of highly religious voters prefer Romney to Obama, who has just 37 percent of their vote. These are the same voters who flocked to Santorum in Iowa and Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, leading pundits to pinpoint Romney’s Mormonism as a barrier. So, the poll’s finding that the highly religious now back Romney is an unexpected development. Perhaps this trend is taking place because evangelicals still view Obama as a secret Muslim. Obama, however, does lead Romney in voters who identify as “moderately religious” or “nonreligious.” Fifty-four percent of the moderately religious favor Obama, while 40 percent favor Romney. Among the nonreligious, Obama has a staggering lead. Sixty percent of these voters support Obama, while just 31 percent support Romney.
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Oddly enough, Romney does better among Protestants than Obama does even though Obama identifies as a Protestant.
Gallup reports that Romney has a five-percent edge over Obama among Protestants, a number that widens when considering the race of these voters and how religious they claim to be. Fifty-four percent of very religious Protestants back Romney, while only 35 percent back Obama. Among white Protestants, Romney has a huge lead (24 percent.) The President does lead Romney in Protestants who identify as moderately religious or nonreligious. The same trend played out among Catholic voters, with very religious Catholics backing Romney (50 percent) and less religious Catholics backing Obama (55 percent).