Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



Did Mitt Romney’s religion—Mormonism—help or hurt him in his campaigns for the presidency? While Romney’s religious affiliation was generally viewed as an electoral liability, Americans’ ambivalence about Mormons presented the possibility that, depending on framing, it could be neutralized or could perhaps even become a political asset. Survey experiments during both Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns suggest that although Romney’s religion was a detriment when he ran the first time, it had largely ceased to be an issue in 2012. Although Mormonism did not have much effect on Romney’s performance at the polls in the general election of 2012, however, Romney’s candidacy has had an effect on perceptions of Mormonism. In the wake of his campaign, attitudes toward Mormons have become politically polarized, with Republicans holding a far more positive view of them than Democrats, with Independents in the middle.