The Corner

The Mormon Factor

For some reason, when people talk about whether Mitt Romney’s Mormonism will keep him from getting elected, the focus is almost always entirely on whether evangelicals will accept him in the primaries. In recent weeks, some commentators have noted a recent Gallup poll that shows that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold a candidate’s Mormonism against him. (See Byron York for example.) The poll also found that independents are slightly more likely to say they will not vote for a Mormon than Republicans are. My theory is that some conservatives think that Mormons aren’t Christian enough, while some liberals think they’re too Christian.

Anyway, that Democrats are more likely to vote against a Mormon on the basis of his religion is not a new finding. (I cited similar results from December 2006 toward the top of this article.) It is nice to see the stereotype of evangelicals as especially intolerant debunked. But don’t the polls — especially the numbers on independents — mean that Romney (or Huntsman) could be a risky general-election candidate? It is probably worth thinking through since Romney has a good shot at being the Republican nominee.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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