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Knowledge of Romney’s Religion Unchanged from July

I. Few Americans Correctly Identify Mitt Romney's Religion

Only 42% of Americans can correctly identify Mitt Romney’s religion as Mormon. This level of knowledge remains unchanged from July 2011, when 4-in-10 (40%) Americans correctly identified Mitt Romney’s religion as Mormon. White evangelical Protestants are the only subgroup that demonstrates increased knowledge of Romney’s religion (53% today compared to 44% in July). College graduates and seniors (age 65 and up) are most likely to correctly identify Romney as Mormon (66% and 62% respectively). Republicans (52%) and members of the Tea Party movement (52%) are significantly more likely to correctly identify Romney’s religion than Independents (41%) or Democrats (36%).

Registered voters are more likely than Americans overall to correctly identify Romney’s religion. Nearly half (49%) of voters are able to correctly identify Romney’s religion, compared to 42% of Americans overall.

II. Evangelical Protestants More likely to Identify with Romney's Politics than Religious Beliefs

Republican and white evangelical Protestant voters are more than twice as likely to identify with Mitt Romney’s political views than with his religious views.

More than one-quarter (26%) of Republican voters say that Romney is the Republican presidential candidate whose political views are closest to their own, but only 1-in-10 (10%) Republican voters report that Romney is the candidate whose religious beliefs are closest to their own.

This same pattern is evident among white evangelical Protestant voters. Twenty-one percent say that Romney is the candidate whose political views are closest to their own, but less than 1-in-10 (8%) say that, compared to other GOP presidential candidates, Romney’s religious beliefs are closest to their own.

In contrast, significant numbers of Republican and white evangelical Protestant voters identify with Herman Cain’s political views and his religious views.

One quarter (25%) of Republican voters say that Herman Cain is the Republican presidential candidate whose political views are closest to their own, compared to about 1-in-5 (19%) Republican voters who say his religious beliefs are closest to their own.

The pattern is roughly similar among white evangelical Protestant voters. More than one-quarter (26%) of white evangelical voters say that, compared to other candidates, Herman Cain’s political views are closest to their own, while about 1-in-5 (20%) say his religious beliefs are closest to their own.

Finally, among Republican and white evangelical Protestant voters, Perry trails both Romney and Cain on measures of political affinity, and is roughly even with Cain on measures of religious affinity.

Nearly equal numbers of Republican voters say that Rick Perry’s political views (15%) and religious beliefs (17%) are closest to their own. By contrast, white evangelical voters are nearly twice as likely to say Perry’s religious beliefs are closest to their own (22%) than to say his political views are closest to their own (12%).

Read the factsheet “Attitudes about Mormons and Implications for Mitt Romney’s Candidacy in 2012.


Recommended citation:

Jones, Robert P., and Daniel Cox. “Knowledge of Romney’s Religion Unchanged from July.” PRRI. 2011. http://www.prri.org/research/oct-religion-politics-tracking-romney-cain-perry/.