From section 2 of "Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism
Benedict XVI Viewed Favorably But Faulted on Religious Outreach"
Released: September 25, 2007
Views of Mormons and Mormonism
There also are substantial educational differences in opinions about Mormons: 64% of college graduates express favorable opinions of Mormons, as do 56% of those with some college experience. But fewer than half of those with a high school education or less (45%) have a positive impression of Mormons.
About three-in-ten (31%) of those who express favorable opinions of Mormons cite personal experience as the biggest influence on their opinions, but a fairly large proportion of those with negative opinions of Mormons (23%) also point to their personal experiences as being most influential.
By contrast, large majorities of white mainline Protestants (62%) and white non-Hispanic Catholics (59%) say that Mormons are Christians. In addition, those with no formal religious affiliation also say that the Mormon religion is Christian by a wide margin (59%-25%).
Mormonism in a Word
When asked to describe their impression of the Mormon religion in a single word, somewhat more offer a negative word than a positive one (27% vs. 23%); 19% give a neutral descriptor. The most common negative word expressed is "polygamy," including "bigamy" or some other reference to plural marriage (75 total responses), followed by "cult" (57 total mentions).
Familiarity with Mormonism and Mormons
As might be expected, people in the Western part of the United States have more contact and greater familiarity with Mormons than do people in other parts of the country. Fully 74% of those in the West say they know a Mormon, compared with fewer than half in other regions. In addition, 66% of Westerners say they know a great deal or some about the Mormon religion, also a much higher proportion than among residents of other regions. Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants show somewhat greater familiarity with Mormons and Mormonism, compared with white mainline Protestants, white non-Hispanic Catholics, and the religiously unaffiliated.
But compared with knowing someone who is Mormon, one's view of whether or not Mormonism is a Christian religion has a much greater impact on overall opinions of Mormons. Among non-Mormons who see Mormons as Christian, more than two-thirds (68%) express a favorable view of Mormons, twice as many as among those who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion (34%). Equally striking, fully 42% of those who believe the Mormon religion is not Christian say they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon for president; among those who believe Mormonism is a Christian religion, just 16% express reluctance about supporting a Mormon.