A new Gallup poll suggests that “More than one in five Americans, 22%, say they would not vote for their party’s nominee for president in 2012 if that person happens to be a Mormon, a figure largely unchanged since 1967.”
What’s particularly fascinating, and probably makes the poll less meaningful that it might have been given that the two Mormon candidates are Republicans, is that the percent of Democrats who would not vote for a Mormon is much higher than the percentage of Republicans or independents.
Although Gallup has a reputation as being even-handed, they strike me as using Democrat-leaning spin yet again (as I thought they did regarding polling results between President Obama and a generic Republican candidate). In particular: in the e-mail announcing the poll results, Gallup says that the 22 percent who would not vote for a Mormon “includes 18% of Republicans and 19% of independents, as well as 27% of Democrats.” Notice how the percentage of Democrats is 50 percent higher than the percentage of Republicans, but the Democrats are mentioned last and preceded with “as well as,” as if the Democratic figure is barely noteworthy?
Furthermore, within their article (linked above) about the poll result, they say “The new Gallup poll, conducted June 9-12, finds nearly 20% of Republicans and independents saying they would not support a Mormon for president. That is slightly lower than the 27% of Democrats saying the same.”
So, they round up the Republican and independent figures from the high teens to “nearly 20%” so that the first digit is the same “2” as the first digit for Democrats, and then they call it “slightly lower.” But it’s not “slightly” lower. As a percentage of the result, it’s massively lower…fully 50 percent lower for Republicans than for Democrats, and nearly 50 percent lower for independents versus Democrats.
Gallup risks its credibility as impartial with such inappropriate numerical manipulations.
While it’s not surprising that refusal to vote for a Mormon correlates inversely with level of education, I did find it interesting that younger voters were less likely to vote for a Mormon than older voters.
Other interesting poll internals: 9 percent said they wouldn’t vote for a Jew. On the one hand, that’s an incredibly high number in the 21st-century USA. On the other hand, it’s less than half of those who wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. And, dashing any hopes I’d have of being president, 49 percent said they wouldn’t vote for an atheist. (As an atheist Jew, I wonder if that makes me 29 percent unfavorable among voters…or 58 percent?) And if you’re a gay Mormon atheist, just forget about ever running for anything…