Religion has little impact in U.S. race: poll

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:02pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The religious faiths of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will have little weight in November's presidential election, a poll showed on Thursday.

Sixty percent of voters are aware that Romney is a Mormon, and 81 percent say it does not matter to them, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center. The awareness level is almost unchanged from four months ago, during the Republican primary elections.

"Unease with Romney's religion has little impact on voting preferences," the Pew report said.

"Republicans and white evangelicals overwhelmingly back Romney irrespective of their views of his faith, and Democrats and seculars overwhelmingly oppose him regardless of their impression."

The United States has never had a Mormon president.

Obama is a Christian but the view that he is Muslim persists almost four years into his presidency, with 17 percent of voters saying he is Muslim. Forty-nine percent say he is Christian, down from 55 percent near the end of his 2008 campaign, and 31 percent say they do not know Obama's religion.

Among conservative Republicans, 34 percent say Obama, a Democrat, is Muslim, the poll showed.

Overall, 45 percent of voters are comfortable with Obama's religion, 5 percent say it does not matter and 19 percent are uncomfortable.

About two-thirds of voters - 67 percent - agree with the statement "It's important to me that a president have strong religious beliefs." The level has changed little in the past decade.

But 66 percent oppose churches or other houses of worship endorsing political candidates.

The telephone survey was carried out by Pew's Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press from June 28 to July 9.

The poll sampled 2,973 adults, including 2,373 registered voters. The margin of error for adults was 2.1 percentage points and 2.3 percentage points for voters.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (3)
AlkalineState wrote:
“Among conservative Republicans, 34 percent say Obama, a Democrat, is Muslim, the poll showed.”

Awesome. These are people who also think Africa is a country. Conservative republican = lack of education. Clearly.

Jul 26, 2012 1:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
OneOfTheSheep wrote:
I wish we could get back to the days when the same thing could be said of the Republican primary or the candidates it attracts.

The problems of America will not be solved by religion or the fanatically religious. They are of this world, and we need leaders with their feet, hearts and vision firmly in this world.

Over thousands of years, religion has yet to bring mankind’s hopes and dreams together for a better future. It’s squabbling theocracies and pettiness provide NO “light at the end of the tunnel”, yet divert HUGE resources of man’s time, thought and financial resources that could actually “make a difference” if effectively redirected and reasonably prioritized to make THIS PLANET a better place to live.

Why?

Instead we keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

Jul 26, 2012 1:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
explorer08 wrote:
A devout Mormon, a bishop in his church, once told me: “It’s our goal to part the Gentiles with as much of their money as possible.” (I am not making this up.) Gentiles is what Mormons call the rest of us.

Jul 26, 2012 6:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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