Many Americans continue to see the Mormon faith as unfamiliar and different. In a recent poll, approximately half of those polled said they know little or nothing about Mormonism; another half said that it is a Christian religion, while a third said that it is not. In addition, roughly two-thirds of people believe that Mormonism is “very different” from their own beliefs. These impressions are essentially unchanged over the past four years.

About half of all voters — and 60% of white Evangelical Republicans — know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. The former Massachusetts governor’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election, should he be nominated as his party’s standard bearer.

White Evangelical Protestants — a key element of the GOP electoral base — are more inclined than the public as a whole to view Mormonism as a non-Christian faith. More than half (53%) of white Evangelicals share this opinion, compared to 33% of Republicans overall.

Republicans who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination and offer a less favorable assessment of him generally. But they seem prepared to overwhelmingly back him in a general election campaign against President Obama. Fully 91% of white Evangelical Republican voters say they would back Romney over Obama in a general election matchup, and 79% would support Romney “strongly.” Generally-speaking, white Evangelicals would be among the strongest Romney supporters in a general election contest. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.