July 10th, 2006

Who Won’t Vote for Mitt Romney?

I just came across this article which discusses what type of people fit into the “37%” that wouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney in ’08, simply because he’s LDS.

To summarize: Liberal democrats.

Gee, there’s a surprise…

3 Responses to “Who Won’t Vote for Mitt Romney?”

  1. Jason
    July 11, 2006 at 2:28 pm #

    I hope you weren’t scared off by my (perhaps somewhat harsh) retorts over at Purim, Connor. If I offended, I apologize. It’s far too easy to get heavy handed with the keyboard, especially without any provision for facial expressions or intonations that might mitigate the apparent heavy-handedness.

    Anyway, that being said, I thought I’d comment on this particular post. First off, you point to, as your source, what is really a blog entry — but you call it an “article.” This is somewhat misleading, as I would suspect that most people will see “article” and suppose that your source is somewhat more authoritative than simply the personal opinion of a conservative blogger.

    Secondly — and, I think, more importantly — your wording suggests that the 37% of Americans who said that they would not vote for Romney are all, or at least largely, “liberal democrats.” And, of course, anyone who follows your link to your source will find a lengthy exposition of the supposed evils of intolerant “liberal democrats” in Utah.

    The problem is that neither you nor your source offer any evidence whatsoever to substantiate the implied claim that the people who won’t vote for Mitt because he’s a Mormon are all (or at least mostly) “liberal democrats.” This is purely supposition on your part.

    Moreover, it’s flatly and factually wrong. If you go to the actual article that reports on the findings of the poll, you’ll find that, of those polled, 37% said they would not vote for a Mormon, and of registered voters, 35% said they would not vote for a Mormon. But the poll goes on to say this:

    More than two in five Democrats say they wouldn’t do so, while about a third of both Republicans and independents say they wouldn’t.

    In other words, a little more than 40% of Dems said they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon, and roughly 33% of Republicans said the same thing. The poll questioned 1,170 registered voters. That means about 409 people said they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. If we suppose that the poll questioned Reps and Dems in equal numbers, then 585 of each were questioned. Going by the above percentages, that would mean about 193 Reps and about 234 Dems said they wouldn’t vote for Mormons. Obviously, this adds up to more than the 409 who actually said so — so we can conclude that the poll didn’t question Reps and Dems in equal numbers. (And we knew this already, as the poll also included the questioning of Independents.)

    But we can conclude one thing: The 37% of people (and the 35% of registered voters) who said they would not vote for a Mormon is not — I repeat, NOT — comprised of mostly, or, as you imply, entirely “liberal Democrats.” Such an implication is wildly false, and I think just a little irresponsible. A reasonable guess would say that roughly 180 Reps, roughly 220 Dems, and roughly 10 Indies, said that they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. This hardly looks like a crowd of anti-Mormon “liberal Democrats,” does it? Yet this is the picture you and your source would like to paint.

    You seem to like to speak out against partisan politics and to advocate some good sense in political discussions. But to go and misrepresent the state of things so blatantly — with such an obvious (and, in this case, mistaken) bias against Democrats — belies your attempts to advocate bi-partisan communication and cooperation.

    With all this being said, though, I do hope I’m not being too harsh, or offensive, and that you won’t be afraid to continue to contribute your comments over at Purim. Cheers.

  2. Connor
    July 11, 2006 at 3:53 pm #


    Thanks for your post. While initially offended at Purim for being told to pander elsewhere, I got over it quickly. Forgive, and forget. No big deal.

    I agree with your illustrations here. You actually clarify indirectly something I talk about in another post of mine, that being the hypocrosiy in our human nature. It was (and is) hypocritical of me to generalize and target “liberal democrats”. I apologize for labeling the post as an article, it was not my intent to mislead.

    I am not at all surprised that more Republicans won’t vote for a Mormon than Democrats. This is largely attributed to, in my mind, the right-wing evangelical base that has a propensity for attacking and loathing Mormons.

    Anywho, thanks for pointing out my hypocrisy. It’s good for me to be aware of it, since it is something I often suffer from (as do we all, I believe).

  3. Jason
    July 12, 2006 at 9:42 am #

    I think it’s worth pointing out that “liberal Democrats” and “conservative Republicans” are both likely to have reasons for not voting for a Mormon — just different reasons.

    “Liberal Dems,” presumably, might be concerned about voting for someone who belongs to what is perceived as a fundamentalist, somewhat overzealous, ultraconservative religious group. “Liberal Dems” prefer a strong separation of church and state, and also tend to be more secularist generally in their worldview — so the thought of a Mormon in office is understandably concerning to them, primarily for their worry that a Mormon would have trouble keeping their church entirely separate from their state. (Notably, this is a major concern that “liberal Dems” have with Bush and his evangelism — so it isn’t a concern specific to Mormons.)

    “Conservative Reps,” on the other hand, are presumably represented by the evangelical and fundamentalist sects of traditional Christianity, so their concerns about a Mormon are less political and more religious in nature: that is, they see Mormonism as “not Christian” at best, and “an evil cult” at worst. They want to see a “good, God-fearing man” in office, so their primary worry would be that a Mormon would not qualify as such. (Notably, this has been a major concern for “conservative Reps” with regard to many Democratic candidates, who are perceived as not sufficiently “Christian” — so, again, it isn’t necessarily a concern specific to Mormons.)

    The bottom line, I guess, is that perhaps we, as Mormons, ought to reconsider things from a different angle. It might not be that there’s something wrong with all those people who wouldn’t vote for us; rather, perhaps there’s something wrong with how we’ve portrayed ourselves. If we did a better job of showing ourselves to be rational, balanced, and politically diverse (instead of overzealous, fundamentalist, and uniformly conservative), then perhaps more Dems would vote for us. And if we did a better job of being less insular (instead of clannish), then perhaps fewer “Christians” would see us as a cult, and more would vote for us.

    But to be honest, I think we have a far better chance with the Dems, because political disagreements are (in my opinion) far easier to overcome than religious ones, and there’s just no getting around our religious differences with fundamentalist “Christianity.”

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