Many more people know Romney is Mormon than know Obama is Christian

I found this result of a poll released June 26 absolutely fascinating. To sum up, 67 percent of voters know Mitt Romney is Mormon, but only 43 percent know Obama is Christian.

Forty percent of voters said they are not sure about Pres. Obama’s religion, and 8 percent said he is a Muslim. In comparison, only 25 percent were not sure about Mitt Romney’s religion.

(Go to page 15 of the poll results).

Meanwhile, 50 percent feel comfortable about Mitt being a Mormon, and 18 percent say they are not comfortable. 32 percent don’t know or aren’t sure. Interestingly, the comfort level with Mormon Mitt is up 3 points from nine months ago.

I really don’t know what to make of this. Pres. Obama is a known quantity, probably the most famous person in the world right now. He has two autobiographies and has made it clear that he is a Christian. Yet only 43 percent know that? Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is not that well known, and yet many more people know he is a Mormon. Is it possible he is just known as “that Mormon guy running for president?”

(Personal anecdote: I work for an international company and have had people from around the world congratulate me because they know I am Mormon and they know Mitt Romney is Mormon. They are very confused when I say I favor Ron Paul).

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

9 thoughts on “Many more people know Romney is Mormon than know Obama is Christian

  1. This is thought-provoking. I do think it’s true that Romney’s candidacy has been shaped by his religion, whether for better or for worse.
    I would like to raise something though. I would like to discuss whether Romney’s candidacy is a good thing or a bad thing. From the church’s perspective, that is (like you, I personally favour Ron Paul). I think it would be wonderful for the church if Romney were to win the Republican nomination. It will bring the church even further out of obscurity, and force America (and the rest of the western world) to seriously confront anti-Mormon prejudices. People will learn more about the church, and I think all this would be to the church’s benefit.
    However, I think Romney actually winning the presidential election would be disastrous for the church. Let’s be honest, whenever anything goes wrong, everyone always blames whoever’s in charge, whoever has power. Since the President of the USA is the most powerful man in the world, and America has a habit of taking responsibility to try and fix problems all over the world, Romney is likely to become very unpopular. For a president so thorouoghly shaped by his religion, I think this would reflect very badly on the church.

  2. I think part of the reason the poll numbers are ‘off’ like that is because people believe what they WANT to believe. There was nothing non-neutral about Romney’s Mormonism. That fact was for both positive and negative. Anti-Romney’s and Pro-Romney’s would spread that fact. With Obama, his Christianity wasn’t a popular fact for many Anti-Obama people. They preferred to either spread no religion, or to spread that he was muslim, either to distract, because of his father, his middle name, his African ties, etc. They didn’t see his Christianity as a strength to their Anti-Obama picture they developed, whereas for Romney, those that disliked him, his Mormonism fit in both pictures of good and bad.

  3. What’s hilarious about this is that there are so many who believe that both Romney and Obama aren’t Christian (or at least have doubts about their beliefs). And yet if they want their vote to make a difference in the outcome of the election, they have to vote for one or the other. I’m guessing most in that camp will be voting for Romney as the lesser of two “un-Christian” evils.

  4. I think the wording of the question complicates things. I couldn’t tell you what particular religion he belongs to, if any. Clearly he no longer belongs to Jeremiah Wright’s church. But I wouldn’t claim to know his religion beyond “Christian”.

    I wonder if people were uncomfortable guessing at specifics and just answered “No” when asked “Do you know what Barack Obama’s religion is?”

    I found the section above this one to be interesting as well. The confluence of race and identity politics is a complex topic.

  5. The former New York Times magazine editor (for 11 years) Edward Klein has written a book about Barack Obama. In it he quotes Barack Obama’s controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Rev. Wright says “it is hard to tell” if Barack Obama converted from Islam to Christianity”. Wright says “church is not Barack’s thing”

    If Obama’s pastor is not sure if Obama is a Christian, we shouldn’t question those who do so.

  6. Did he make that statement after Obama distanced himself from Wright? I’m sensing sour grapes…

    Also, arj was smart enough to look at the link to see what the question actually was–and it’s pretty obvious that 43% Geoff B. mentions is not actually accurate. I therefore take back what I said previously until another poll comes back that asks if people think Obama’s Christian or not Christian.

  7. Tim, the poll very clearly lumps together “Protestant” Christians, which is what Obama is. The answer is 43 percent. The same question was asked of Romney, and the answer was 67 percent said he was Mormon. My point is still valid, ie, people do not know what religion Obama is, but more do know Romney’s religion.

  8. Obama seems to be a Christian about the same way Jon Huntsman Jr is a Mormon. A nominal affiliation of unknown influence, more or less. Romney, on the other hand, has been a bishop and a stake president and that is not an association that he could easily minimize even if he wanted to.

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