Prejudice of Americans
Mormons and Evangelicals
The Gallup News Service reported their findings on their
survey of American adult's views on "the Mormon religion," as conducted on
2007-FEB-22 to 25. This term would probably be interpreted by most Americans as
referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
centered in Salt Lake City, UT. It is by far the largest denomination among the
approximately 100 faith groups in the LDS Restorationist movement. The survey
may have been prompted by Mitt Romney, a Republican Mormon, who is running for the
presidency in 2008.
Some of their findings:
46% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Mormon
religion; 42% have a favorable opinion. (9% very favorable, 33% somewhat
favorable, 30% somewhat unfavorable, 16% very unfavorable, 11% no opinion.)
Residents in the East, Republicans, political liberals,
Protestants, and frequent church attendees tended to have the most negative
view of the Mormons.
The four most common thoughts that come to mind when people
consider Mormons were:
Salt Lake City, or Utah
Good people / kind / caring / strong morals
Dislike their beliefs / don't agree with their
doctrines / false teachings.
Among those less likely to vote for a Mormon, 60% said that
there is no chance they would do so.
Number of samples: 1,018; Margin of error ±4%
A Washington Post/ABC News
poll released on 2007-FEB-27 found that 29% of Americans said they would be less
likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is a Mormon. 4% would be more
likely, and 66% said it would not matter. The four main reasons given were:
39% disagree with / uncomfortable with / dislike Mormonism
12% don't know enough about Mormons
11% worry about the influence of the Mormon church.
7% Mormons are not true Christians
6% multiple wives / polygamy
Polygyny -- the practice of one man marrying multiple wives --
is today found only within very small fundamentalist Mormon denominations,
notably The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints (FLDS). The main Mormon denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints prohibited polygyny as a result of what they believe to
have been a command by God in
1890 CE. They currently excommunicate any member who practices plural marriage.
A curious finding is that 21% of the American people would also be
less likely to vote for a candidate who smokes cigarettes. On a positive note,
those bigoted against women (14%) are neatly balanced by those
who are bigoted for women (14%). Those racially biased against
blacks (7%) are almost completely balanced by those biased for blacks
Number of samples: 1,082; Margin of error ±3%.
Attitudes towards Evangelical Christians by college &
Gary A. Tobin is the director and chief pollster of the
Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco CA. He and Aryeh
K. Weinberg, polled
professors at public and private, secular and religious, two and four-year
colleges across the U.S. about their attitudes towards various religious groups.
Ratings ranged from warm or favorable to very cool or unfavorable. Tobin and
"When we ask questions like this, we're asking the
respondent to say how they feel about an entire group of people, and
whatever image they have of that entire group comes through. There is no
question this is revealing bias and prejudice."
The study was mainly geared to assess the degree of
anti-semitism at colleges. They found that professors expressed positive feelings
towards Buddhists, Jews, Roman Catholics and most other religious groups. Some
of his findings:
Almost half (48%) of faculty regard themselves as political
liberals; this compares with 22% of the general population.
The percentage of faculty with warm or favorable feelings
towards Jews is 73%, Buddhists 68%, Roman Catholics 64%, non-evangelical
Christians 62%, people of no religion 50%, and Atheists 41%. Faculty of the
various religions were excluded from rating their own group.
33% of faculty have negative feelings about Mormons -- the
second highest of any faith group.
Concerning evangelical Christians:
71% agree or agree strongly "...that evangelical Christians
should keep their religious beliefs out of American politics."
Only 30% of faculty feel warm/favorably about evangelical
Christians with only 11% feeling very warm/favorable. This is the lowest of
any religious group. 53% are cool/unfavorable. "These negative feelings
are noted across academic disciplines and demographic factors."
Among social science faculty, 57% have a negative view of
Among faculty in the humanities, 54% have a negative view.
It is notable that only 11% of college and university
faculty are evangelicals; this compares with 33% in the general public.
89% of evangelical faculty consider religion to be very
important in their life. This compares to 53% for Roman Catholics and 38%
for non-evangelical Christian faculty memberss.
N = 1,200; margin of error = ±3 percentage points.
The report expressed concern about the overall climate toward
evangelicals on American campuses. He wrote:
"How does this disapproval affect the intellectual, emotional,
social experiences of those who identify as Evangelicals? As it was
for Jews on campus two generations ago, maybe Evangelical Christians
do not want to talk openly about their identities and beliefs.
The prejudice against them stands out prominently in institutions
dedicated to liberalism, tolerance, and academic freedom.
Faculty may deny that their feelings about Evangelical Christians
affect research and teaching, or that they interact differently
with colleagues and students who are Evangelical Christians. But
faculty cannot deny, at least according to these data, that they feel
very negatively about Evangelicals, especially compared to the tolerance
expressed for other religious groups. ..."
"Colleges and universities have some serious soul searching to
do about these findings. Faculty may argue that their level of negativity
about Evangelical Christians is a political disapproval, not a
religious one. This argument is unacceptable, as are the justifications for all
The attitudes of faculty about Evangelicals have not gone unnoticed
by Evangelicals themselves. Organizations representing
Christian communities have argued that many universities are inhospitable and
some are hostile to Evangelical groups on campus."
Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of
University Professors and professor of English at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggests that the poll data does not indicate
religious bias. It reflects "a political and cultural resistance..."
4 He believes that the
negative feelings towards evangelicals has two causes:
"...the particular kind of Republican Party activism that
some evangelicals have engaged in over the years, as well as what faculty
perceive as the opposition to scientific objectivity among some
William B. Harvey, vice president for diversity and equity at the
University of Virginia, said that even if the survey has correctly
identified a "latent sentiment" among professors, "I don't know that
it is fair to make the leap ... that this is manifested in some bias in the
In his assignment working on diversity issues at the American Council on
Education, he did not come any serious incidents in which a professor
discriminated against an evangelical student. He said:
"The campus is a microcosm of the larger society. Of course we have
intolerant people. Of course it happens on occasion. But there is no
evidence this is a major problem." 4
Attitudes towards Evangelical Christians by the general
|2006-APR: CBS News poll: Between APR-06 to 09, pollsters asked
899 randomly selected American adults: |
"What is your impression of [the
following religion]? As of today, is it very favorable, somewhat favorable,
somewhat unfavorable, very unfavorable, of haven't you heard enough about
that to say?" 5
Note that the question relates to a specific religion, and not the
followers of that religion.
||Haven't heard enough
|Christian fundamentalist religions
|The Mormon religion
|The Catholic religion
|Other Christian religions
such as Protestantism
|The Jewish religion
|The religion called Islam
2007-APR: Institute for Jewish & Community Research poll:
G.A. Tobin and Aryeh K. Weinberg, reported in 2007-APR that the percentage of American
adults who hold warm/favorable feelings towards persons of a given religion
50% towards Roman Catholics and Jews
Evangelical Christians, 42%,
Non-Evangelical Christians, 36%,
Persons not practicing any religion, 33%, and
They note a curious interplay between Jews and evangelical
Christians. Tobin and Weinberg, note that:
"Among the public, while 60% of Evangelicals feel
warm/favorable toward Jews, 37% of Jews feel cool/unfavorable toward
Evangelicals, including 26% who feel very cold/unfavorable, revealing a
bit of a one-sided affinity between the two communities."
This may be because a significant percentage of evangelicals
support Israel. They also anticipate the war of Armageddon in the near
future, ending the world as we
know it. As a result of Armageddon, many evangelicals believe that
a very small number of Jews will survive -- exactly 144,000. The vast
majority will be slaughtered by Jesus and his army of angels in a
genocide greater than the Nazi Holocaust. This
belief may make some Jews less than supportive of evangelicals.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Frank Newport, "Americans' Views of the Mormon Religion: Most frequent
top-of-mind impression of Mormons is polygamy," The Gallup Poll®,
http://www.galluppoll.com/ This may be a temporary listing.
- "Washington Post-ABC News Poll," 2007-FEB-27, at:
- G.A. Tobin & Aryeh K. Weinberg, "Religious beliefs of College Faculty," at:
http://www.jewishresearch.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
- Alan Cooperman, "Is There Disdain For Evangelicals In the Classroom? Survey,
Bias Allegation Spur Debate," Washington Post, 2007-MAY-05, at:
- "Religion," Polling Report, at:
- Op cit, Tobin, Page 81
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2007-FEB
Latest update: 2007-MAY-06
Author: B.A. Robinson