What do Mormons think about Governor Romney’s candidacy?

67.5% said they did not trust the media to cover the Church fairly, and after the diatribes of the Lawrence O’Donnells of the world, who can blame them?

The 2012 presidential candidacy of Governor Romney has shined a spotlight on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As the first member of the LDS Church to win a major party nomination, his candidacy has inspired both favorable and unfavorable coverage of the LDS faith.

What do members of the LDS faith generally think about his candidacy? Are they excited to see it? Do they believe the media will portray their faith accurately?

A recent statewide survey of voters conducted in cooperation with Key Research, a survey and market research company in Utah, sheds some light on these questions. While it is not a national survey, members of the LDS faith in Utah share many similarities with those outside of the state.

When asked to reflect on Governor Romney’s accomplishment of securing the Republican nomination, members of the LDS faith overwhelmingly said it was a good thing.

“Governor Mitt Romney is the first LDS (Mormon) candidate in history to win the presidential nomination of a major political party. Reflecting on this accomplishment, do you think it is overall a good thing or a bad thing for the LDS (Mormon) Church?” Percent
A Good Thing 77.4%
A Bad Thing 2.4%
Don’t Know 20.2%
N 341

It would be difficult to tell whether they believed it was a good thing because of his politics or because of the shared faith, but either way, the belief is that his candidacy is a positive event.

When asked how excited they are for his candidacy, Mormons once again express positive emotions. 83% of Mormons say that his candidacy makes them “very excited” or “somewhat excited.”

“Governor Mitt Romney is the first LDS (Mormon) candidate in history to win the presidential nomination of a major political party. Does this accomplishment make you feel excited or unexcited?” Percent
Very excited 37.2%
Somewhat excited 46.6%
Somewhat unexcited 12.9%
Very unexcited 3.2%
N 341

The publicity brought to the LDS faith by his candidacy is evaluated much more as a mixed bag. When asked what kind of publicity they thought the LDS Church will receive, a large majority said the candidacy would result in “both good and bad publicity.”

“Overall, what kind of publicity do you think that the LDS (Mormon) Church will receive during the 2012 presidential campaign?” Percent
Mostly good publicity 19.9%
Both good and bad publicity 68.0%
Mostly bad publicity 7.3%
Don’t know 4.7%
N 341

Part of the ambivalence for the kind of media coverage may stem from the low levels of trust in the media. 67.5% said they did not trust the media to cover the Church fairly, and after the diatribes of the Lawrence O’Donnells of the world, who can blame them?

“Overall, do you generally trust the media to cover the LDS (Mormon) Church fairly?” Percent
Yes, I trust the media to cover the LDS Church fairly. 23.2%
No, I do not trust the media to cover the LDS Church fairly. 68.0%
Don’t know 8.8%
N 341

Many in the media have dubbed 2012 the “Mormon Moment.” Members of the LDS faith seem to appreciate the historic dimensions of Governor Romney’s candidacy. But they remain wary of what the publicity might bring.

Update (June 26, 2012): We’ve now posted a full set of results along with a more detailed methodological report for the survey.

Survey Methodology

The sample was drawn from the publicly available file of Utah registered voters. A model of general election turnout was estimated using age, party registration status, length of registration, and past election turnout. This model was used to estimate a probability of voting in the 2012 general election. A Probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) sample was drawn using this turnout estimate such that voters with a higher probability of voting have a higher probability of being selected in the sample. For a detailed explanation of a similar model used with PPS sampling in an online survey, see Michael Barber, Chris Mann, J. Quin Monson, and Kelly D. Patterson. “Online Polls and Registration Based Sampling: A New Method for Pre-election Polling.” The sample was then matched to a database of telephone numbers and sampled voters were administered a questionnaire over the telephone by Key Research. The survey field dates were June 12, 2012 – June 19, 2012. The full sample of 500 produces a margin of error of 4.4%. The analysis in this post is limited to self-identified Mormons (n=341) with a margin of error of 5.3%.

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