Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gallup: 18% Won't Vote For A Mormon For President.Is There A Mormon "Bradley Effect"

The outstanding poll analysis site 
Electoral-Vote.Com has the Gallup poll below which shows a huge, in the context of a supposed close election, 18% would not vote for a Mormon for president. 

He makes the comment;

"While interesting, what the poll really says is what people are willing to tell a pollster, rather than how they would actually vote. Although 18% of the respondents said that would not vote for a Mormon, when push comes to shove (and the shoving date is Nov. 6, 2012), given a choice between a white, Republican Mormon and a black, Democratic generic Protestant, it remains to be seen whether the expressed bigotry against Mormons dominates. It is also possible that some of the anti-Mormon voters rationalize their vote by convincing themselves that Obama is a Muslim, which in their eyes is even worse."

Firstly, yes, this is what people are willing to tell the pollster but, rather than as he indicates, it may not reflect polling booth reality. It could well be that it actually understates reality. Perhaps more people than the 18% did not tell the pollster that they would not vote for a Mormon because they felt it might expose them to being seen as "bigots."

 Historically this phenomenon was seen where people would supposedly tell pollsters that they would vote for a Black candidate but in the polling booth the Black candidate lost by a margin which could only be explained by people telling pollsters one thing and doing something else in private for fear of being called bigots.

I respect the analytical ability of "The Votemaster" at his site but t call people who oppose Mormonism as "bigots" is a bridge too far. There are Christians of strong faith who see Mormonism as non-Christian "another Gospel" as St. Paul put it and have every right to vote against, or abstain from voting for someone whose beliefs are seen as destructive of the 2000 year old faith they adhere to.

Thus the reality could very well be that actually more than 18% would not vote for a Mormon for president. It may well be that there will be a "Bradley effect' (history at the link) in November and in the polling booth many will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon. or the "Bradley effect" may be more  subtle in that rather than vote for Obama those opposed to Romney because he is a Mormon will simply stay home.

The vote in South Carolina, which primary Gingrich won in a landslide, may be a reflection of the anti-Mormon vote in the South. McCain won SC by 9 points, but with Romney running much closer to Obama than McCain did nationwide at present Romney is only ahead by 6 points in SC today. 

Romney is 7 points ahead in Missouri, a state which McCain won by less than 1 point. On that basis Romney should be massively ahead in South Carolina.

If he is not, and it is due to a Mormon type Bradley effect, then Romney stands little chance of winning Virginia (where Obama is 8 points ahead at present) and possibly Florida, and, who knows, "when push comes to shove" South Carolina might fall to Obama. 

A recent Gallup poll asked voters which about various demographic categories and whether they would vote for a presidential candidate in each of them. Here are the results.
Gay or Lesbian68%30%

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