Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pew Research: A Portrait of U.S. Mormons - Social and Political Views

(subject corrected)
Excerpts of A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S. by Allison Pond, Research Associate, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Social and Political Views

Mormons stand out from the general population and other major religious traditions for their conservatism on both cultural and political issues. Strong majorities of Mormons say there are absolute standards of right and wrong and that they feel their values are often threatened by Hollywood. They also are considerably more Republican than any other major religious tradition, including members of evangelical Protestant churches, and tend to take conservative positions on whether abortion should be legal or illegal, whether homosexuality should be accepted or discouraged by society and views of the size and role of government. On issues of foreign affairs, Mormons stand out for their view that the U.S. should be active in world affairs and for being slightly more likely than others to favor military strength over diplomacy.

The summer 2007 Landscape Survey finds that an even larger share of Mormons identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party than identify as conservative. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Mormons say they identify with or lean toward the Republican party, 15 percentage points higher than among members of evangelical churches (50%) and 30 points higher than among the general population (35%). Just one-fifth of Mormons (22%) say they are Democrats and the remainder say they do not favor either party. Members of historically black churches are the only religious group in which there is more consensus in partisanship than Mormons, with 77% identifying as Democrats.

This places Mormons to the right of all other major religious traditions on a continuum of ideology and partisanship; in fact, they are somewhat more conservative and Republican than members of evangelical Protestant churches. By contrast, smaller, non-Christian religious traditions, such as Hindus, Buddhists and Jews, cluster around the liberal, Democratic end of the spectrum. Members of historically black Protestant churches are the farthest along the Democratic spectrum but are more conservative than members of other faiths that lean Democratic.

Most Mormons take an anti-abortion or "pro-life" position on the issue of abortion. Fully 70% say abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances, compared with 42% among the general population. Two-thirds of Mormons (68%) say homosexuality should be discouraged rather than accepted by society. When asked about the theory of evolution, only 22% of Mormons say it is the best explanation for human life, with three-in-four (75%) disagreeing.

Read the full report on the social and political views of Mormons at

For more information see the new Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life resource page on Mormonism.

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