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Mormonism and Politics

11:55 AM, Dec 21, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Mormon role in politics is explained by David Campbell, a Notre Dame professor and a Mormon himself, who recently delivered a presentation on the subject at an Ethics and Public Policy Center event titled "Mormonism and Politics: Historical and Contemporary Issues."

It should probably come as no surprise that at this time, as we prepare for the 2012 presidential election, we’d be talking about Mormons. Some have called this “the Mormon Moment,” with all sorts of things related to Mormonism in popular culture. There’s the Broadway musical. There are various programs in television, and of course, perhaps most well known of all, a few years ago a Mormon almost won the most important election in America.That, of course, would be David Archuleta on American Idol.

But maybe some of you have also noted that we have not one but actually two presidential candidates this year in the Republican primaries who are themselves Mormon, John Huntsman, Jr., of course, and then Mitt Romney, who is very likely to win the nomination or at least to come very close.

And so today I will talk a little bit about some work I’ve done in how voters respond to information about Mitt Romney’s religious background, and we’ll talk a little bit about how it is that voters perceive his Mormonism, and then what we might think of as buffers to information that are sometimes provided about Mormons when they run for office.

I should also note that in the midst of “the Mormon Moment,” as this is sometimes called, the LDS Church is, itself engaged in a public relations campaign known as the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. Some of you may live in parts of the country where this campaign is running. I happen to be right now—in Indiana. The campaign is running there...

So my remarks today will be organized into two parts, two chapters. First of all, I’m going to talk about what contemporary Mormons are like, and then secondly, I will talk about what Americans think of Mormons, and that’s where I’ll focus specifically on what we know about voters’ reactions to Mitt Romney and his religious background in particular.

Whole transcript here

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