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Religious information

Part 1 of 2

Prejudice of U.S. adults towards
Mormons and Evangelicals:

Attitudes towards Mormons:

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 ran unsuccessfully 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% 1

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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 (6%).

Number of samples: 1,082; Margin of error 3%. 2

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Attitudes towards Evangelical Christians by college & university professors:

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 Weinberg write:

"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 evangelicals.


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.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Frank Newport, "Americans' Views of the Mormon Religion: Most frequent top-of-mind impression of Mormons is polygamy," The Gallup Poll, 2007-MAR-02, at: http://www.galluppoll.com/ This may be a temporary listing.
  2. "Washington Post-ABC News Poll," 2007-FEB-27, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-FEB
Latest update: 2015-DEC-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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