The GOP’s all-important social conservatives may be getting more comfortable with Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith — but liberals are increasingly wary about the candidate’s religion in the run-up to November, according to a new study.
The study found anti-Mormon attitudes have increased since Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and are highest among liberal and non-religious voters. Their discomfort could pose a problem for the Republican candidate in November.
“The victory of Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican primary has convinced many observers that Romney’s Mormon religion is now irrelevant to his electoral chances,” wrote study author David Smith. But “aversion to Mormons is still an important force in American public opinion, and one that seriously affects Romney’s chances even if he ultimately overcomes it.”
The study found attitudes about Mormonism among Evangelicals has largely remained unchanged since 2007 — when 37 percent said they were “less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president,” compared with 33 percent this year.
However, that sentiment among non-religious voters increased from 21 percent to 41 percent over roughly the same period.
Among liberal voters, 43 percent said they were less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate in 2012, compared with 28 percent in 2007.
Political strategist Elliott Curson said Thursday that Romney’s religion becomes less of concern “as each day goes by.”
“Still, some people will not vote for Romney because he’s not of their religion, and some people will not vote for Obama because he’s not like them,” said Curson, a media consultant for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
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