(KCPW News) A candidate for Utah Democratic Party Chair says he was appalled to see a recent Gallup poll showing 22 percent of those surveyed would not vote for a presidential candidate who is Mormon. Jim Dabakis is calling on both Democrats and Republicans to speak more responsibly about religious bias. He says as the spotlight shines on Utah, people are going to understand this is prejudice, and has no place in the political system.
“With a little reflection,” Dabakis says, “almost all Americans will understand that people should not be voted for or against because of their religious views. Romney and Huntsman will be defeated, but they will be defeated because of their policies and their political stands and not because of their religion.”
Twenty-seven percent of Democrats who were surveyed said they’d reject an LDS candidate, while 18 percent of Republicans would do the same.
Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright says he doesn’t think anti-LDS sentiment is pervasive. He says people are more comfortable now than they’ve ever been with electing a Mormon candidate.
“Mitt Romney’s run in 2008 helped people get to know the religion better.” He says. “And I think that will continue to happen with Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman in the race. But I think people in this country are far more focused on the failed economic policies of President Obama and his failure to create any kind of recovery when it comes to jobs.”
Gallup says the percentage of Americans unwilling to vote for a Mormon for president has stayed roughly the same since 1967.