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Religious Prejudices And Presidential Politics

It's frustrating to see evidence that religious prejudices linger in such large numbers. The traditional bigotry is fading -- but has been replaced wi

It's frustrating to see evidence that religious prejudices linger in such large numbers. The traditional bigotry is fading -- but has been replaced with newer animus towards other minority faiths.

Most traditional barriers to religion in presidential elections have toppled, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. In particular, the survey released today shows that anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism are fading among voters.

But uneasiness about some religions persists. Thirty-seven percent of those questioned said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, and 54% said no to the prospect of a Muslim in the White House.

In all, 21% said they would not vote for an evangelical Christian, 15% said no to a Jewish presidential candidate, and 10% said they wouldn't back a Catholic candidate.

The ill will towards Mormons is of particular interest now in light of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's likely campaign. As Amy Sullivan recently explained, the GOP's religious-right base tends to look at Mormanism as "a cult." (The Constitution insists there can be no "religious test of public office," but there's nothing stopping Republican primary voters from imposing one of their own.)

I guess it could be worse; there are no atheists running for president. Religious minorities can be unpopular, but non-believers are really disliked by the public.

-- Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

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