Ross’ reply to Chait referred to this poll that shows that Democrats are more likely to say they would not vote for a Mormon than Republicans, which made me try to remember what that famous Rasmussen poll on that question had to say. I went digging through the archives and found it again. Sure enough, 51% of Democratic likely voters say that they would not even “consider” voting for a Mormon, compared with 40% of Republicans and 33% of “other.” The overall “no” figure was 43%, which is higher than what most polls of the general public say (are likely voters really more likely to be anti-Mormon?). For some reason, the 30-39 year olds are the most opposed to a Mormon presidential candidate, women are more likely to be opposed than men, blacks are more likely to be opposed than whites and political moderates and conservatives are virtual ties at 44% and 43% opposed respectively (liberals are at 41%). Religion can intensify the general anti-Mormonism of the public, but this is not something limited just to those who engage in “faith-based politics.” It is, as Ross suggested, as much the result of secularists wary of “faith-based politics” and wary of a specific religion as it is of voters who judge candidates by their religion.
The point is, as I have said before, is that anti-Mormonism is widespread and every demographic participates in it to some significant extent. It is unmistakable that the strongest concentrations of opposition are found among evangelicals (53% opposed) and, of course, those who think that a candidate’s faith is “very important” (59% opposed), but the concentrations in every other group are also very high.
Chait obviously doesn’t want “faith-based politics” under any circumstances, but its capacity to generate opposition to candidates from this particular minority religion shouldn’t be one of the reasons he gives when some large part of every group in America doesn’t want a Mormon as President.