GOP and Romney: partisanship trumps religious discomfort

In the new Gallup poll, only 10% of Republicans said they would not vote for a GOP candidate who happened to be a Mormon. That’s way down from 30% in early 2007, when Romney was testing the waters for his first presidential campaign, and significantly lower than the 18% recorded in late 2007.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ aversion to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has kicked up a notch: The poll found that 24% said they would not vote for a Democratic candidate for president who happened to be a Mormon. That’s about equal to the 23% who answered that way in early 2007, but more than the 18% who said no in late 2007.

It’s hard to avoid seeing a straightforward “Romney effect” here.  Now that Republican voters know that their nominee is going to be a Mormon, many of those who said they’d never vote for one are eating their words.  Now that Democratic voters see a Mormon on the GOP ticket, they’re discovering all kinds of things about the LDS Church to dislike. It’s got nothing to do with doctrine; voters are adjusting their opinions on religion to fit their political preferences. 

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-romney-mormon-problem-20120625,0,407041.story

This is essentially what political science research would predict. For the most part, partisanship trumps religious discomfort.

The interesting thing will be to see if this is a temporary effect. How will these numbers look 2-3 years from now, whether Romney is president or not?

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