Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quinnipiac Poll From June 6th, 2011 Provides Valuable Snapshot On How Mormons Are Perceived In The United States

From May 31st through June 6th, 2011, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,946 registered voters across America with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. The Republican primary included 830 voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent. The primary objective was to find out how Republican Presidential hopefuls match up against each other, and prognosticate trial heats between the leading Republicans and Barack Obama.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners, the poll showed that Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin are the Big Two, with 25 percent and 15 percent respectively. This is expected to fuel more talk of a possible Romney-Palin ticket. The next three are Herman Cain with 9 percent, and Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, both with 8 percent each. Jon Huntsman only garnered 1 percent. Four of the Republicans were then individually polled head-to-head against Barack Obama; Obama outscored all of them, but was only 47-41 percent over Romney, while he was 53-36 percent over Palin.

But just as importantly to those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Quinnipiac Poll provides an unusually detailed snapshot of how Mormons are perceived in America, and it's subdivided by numerous demographics. The questions, along with the overall ratings, are provided below:

Question 24i: If you honestly assessed yourself, thinking in general about - a Mormon president of the United States, is that something you'd be entirely comfortable with, somewhat comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable or entirely uncomfortable with?

-- Entirely Comfortable: 35 percent
-- Somewhat Comfortable: 25 percent
-- Somewhat Uncomfortable: 19 percent
-- Entirely Uncomfortable: 17 percent
-- Don't Know/No Answer: 4 percent

Analysis: Demographic breakdown indicates large white-black split; while 38 percent of whites are entirely comfortable, only 20 percent of blacks feel the same way. Conversely, many more blacks than whites are entirely uncomfortable with the idea of a Mormon president. The 18-34 demographic also appears to be a bit less comfortable with it.

Question 25: Do you personally know anyone who is a Mormon or not?

-- Yes: 59 percent
-- No: 40 percent
-- DK/NA: 1 percent

Analysis: Demographic breakdown indicates another white-black split. While 62 percent of whites know a Mormon, only 43 percent of blacks say the same. A lower-than-normal percentage of those earning <$50K per year know a Mormon.

Question 26: Would you say you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Mormon religion?

-- Favorable: 45 percent
-- Unfavorable: 32 percent
-- DK/NA: 23 percent

Analysis: Demographic breakdown reveals yet another white-black split. While 48 percent of whites have a favorable attitude, only 34 percent of blacks say the same. Less favorable attitudes are also noted among the 18-34 demographic, those earning <$50K, and Evangelicals.

Question 27: How much would you say you know about the Mormon religion and its practices? A great deal, some, not very much, nothing at all?

-- A great deal: 15 percent
-- Some: 51 percent
-- Not very much: 24 percent
-- Nothing at all: 9 percent
-- DK/NA: 1 percent

Analysis: Demographic breakdown indicates blacks the odd group out; 21 percent profess to know nothing at all about Mormonism. All other demographics relatively uniform.

Question 28: From what you know, do you think that the Mormon religion and your own religion are very similar, somewhat similar, somewhat different, or very different?

-- Very similar: 2 percent
-- Somewhat similar: 23 percent
-- Somewhat different: 24 percent
-- Very different: 44 percent
-- MORMON RESP (VOL): 1 percent
-- DK/NA: 7 percent

Analysis: Demographic breakdown indicates all groups tend to think Mormonism is different than their own religion.

The bottom line: We've got a long way to go in reaching blacks. In the long run, black Mormons will be the most effective tool in reaching other blacks. Coming up with a more definitive explanation on the origin of the Priesthood ban would be somewhat helpful. It is rather disappointing that despite 50,000+ missionaries in the field and a vigorous public relations campaign, 33 percent of respondents know little to nothing about Mormonism, and 40 percent profess to not even know a Mormon. Perhaps we need to look at non-Mormons less as prospects or potential converts and more as potential friends and neighbors. The dictum "Every member a missionary" does not necessarily mean that whenever we spot a new family moving into the block, we need to immediately run over to their house with a Book of Mormon in one hand and a D&C in the other. In fact, they would probably prefer a pizza and a cold bottle of soda as a greeting.

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