Poll: Candidate's faith important

Nov. 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Religious beliefs are important in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, with a new survey indicating a religious electorate gravitates to religious candidates.

The Public Religion Research Institute survey indicates 67 percent of voters said it was either very important or somewhat important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs, CNN reported Tuesday.

"Among those who say it is important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs, most say that what matters is simply holding strong religious beliefs, rather than holding particular religious beliefs," the survey said.

The electorate was divided over its comfort level with Mormonism and the prospect of a Mormon serving as president. Fifty-three percent of voters said they were somewhat or very comfortable with a Mormon president while 42 percent said a Mormon president would make them somewhat or very uncomfortable.

GOP front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are Mormons.

"These findings suggest that when voters report that it is important that a candidate have strong religious beliefs, they have certain types of religious beliefs in mind, and hold significant reservations about the beliefs of some minority religious groups," the study said.

Results of the October Religion & Politics Tracking Survey were based on nationwide telephone surveys with 1,019 adults conducted Oct. 19-23. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

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