Well, that number is just a tad higher than the 37% figure that was reported by the LA Times/Bloomberg poll a few months back. I blogged about that one here. In a nutshell, these figures in NO WAY translate into the picture (AKA "implied headline") that some people are trying to paint . . . that "43% Would Never Vote for Romney".
Why? Well, first off, this poll was of all likely voters (R's, D's, and I's). . . obviously liberals and those aware of and uncomfortable with the fact that nearly all Mormon's are strong social conservatives would never vote for one.
Also, some great signs for Romney are hidden in this poll:
Among the 41% with no opinion of Romney, just 27% say they would consider voting for a Mormon.
That shows that Romney has lots of room for improved name recognition. But even more to the point of this whole Mormon issue is that only about one quarter of the likely voters surveyed who don't know Romney would vote for a Mormon. That confirms the theory that people are just more uncomfortable with a "different" religion--espeicially when they cannot put a name/face with it.
How do I come to that? Well, since 38% of all respondants said they'd consider voting for a Mormon, if we subtract out the 41% who had no opinion of Romney (along with their 27% "consider voting for a Momron" figure)---that leaves us with 59% of folks who DO have an opinion of Romney (be it good or bad). My quick calculation of these figures shows that nearly 47% of people with ANY opinion of Romney would consider voting for a Mormon. Counting out those with unfavorable views of Romney (many/most of which will be liberals/Democrats who will not vote in the GOP primary) and the figure gets up to nearly 100%.
The article then helps confirm what I've been saying all along: That these polls about Mormonism are not directly translatable to Romney himself.
It is possible, of course, that these perceptions might change as Romney becomes better known and his faith is considered in the context of his campaign. Currently, just 19% of Likely Voters are able to identify Romney as the Mormon candidate from a list of six potential Presidential candidates.
This shows that Romney may have a pretty "open slate" to work with and I'm convinced he'll shine through and dispel any qualms about his religious affiliation.
However, should this following part be worrisome?
Half (53%) of all Evangelical Christians say that they would not consider voting for a Mormon candidate.
Again, I just think that this unmasks a lack of information/education of Mormonism by Evangelicals in general, and how that relates to Romney in specific.
On the brighter side, at least the American populus is more intolerant of some other religions than Mormonism . . .
The response to a theoretical Mormon candidate is far less negative than the response to a Muslim candidate or an atheist. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Likely Voters say they would never consider voting for a Muslim Presidential candidate. Sixty percent (60%) say the same about an atheist.