Study: Little post-election change in perception of Mormonism

Mormon Church Holds Its Biannual General Conference

George Frey/Getty Images

Despite the nomination of a prominent Mormon as the Republican presidential candidate this year, many Americans say they know very little about that faith, a Pew Center study concludes. The temple in Salt Lake City, Utah is an important center of the American-born religion. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

After polling more than 1,500 adults soon after the presidential election, the Pew Forum finds that most Americans are still very confused about the homegrown religion. More than half of those polled wrongly believe that Mormonism is not based on Christianity, and that it was founded before the 19th century. Neither idea is true.

“We also asked people for a self-assessment of how much they learned about Mormonism during the campaign," said Alan Cooperman, who conducted the survey for the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. "And I can tell you that 82 percent of Americans said they learned not very much or nothing at all about the Mormon religion.”

On the other hand, Cooperman said the report indicated that Mitt Romney’s candidacy did pave the way for other people in some religious groups to accept Mormonism more than they had before last year. White Protestants, evangelicals, and Catholics, who tend to vote Republican, voted overwhelmingly for Romney.

About 800,000 baptized Mormons live in California. In polls the Pew Forum conducted last year, most of them said they believed the United States was ready for a Mormon president.

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