Study Explores Religion’s Impact on Romney, Perry, Cain Campaigns


Despite heavy media coverage of Mitt Romney’s religion, only 42 percent of Americans correctly identify the candidate as a Mormon. This level of knowledge remains the same from July, even after Texas pastor Robert Jeffress’ comments about Mormonism being a cult spread like wildfire and sparked a heated debate.

Indeed, a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that white evangelical Protestants are the only subgroup that demonstrates increased knowledge of Romney’s religion (53 percent today compared to 44 percent in July). The Religion & Politics Tracking Survey also finds that registered voters are more likely than Americans overall to correctly identify Romney’s religion (49 percent, compared to 42 percent respectively).
“The increase in knowledge of Romney’s Mormon faith among evangelicals is potentially problematic for Romney, since we know from our research that six-in-10 evangelicals do not see the Mormon faith to be a Christian religion,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director. “As more evangelical voters identify Romney as a Mormon, the question will be whether he can bridge the religious gap with shared political values.”
The survey also reveals why businessman Herman Cain found an opening in the Republican primary field.
“The sources of Cain’s strength are Romney and Perry’s weaknesses,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. “Especially for the GOP primary, where white evangelical Protestants play a prominent role, candidates need to connect with voters on both shared political and religious values.
“Romney is strong on political affinity, but weaker on religious affinity. Perry is weaker on political affinity but stronger on religious affinity. Cain is strong on both political and religious affinity among evangelical voters.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News

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