In U.S., 22% Are Hesitant to Support a Mormon in 2012 When I point out that Romney's nominee is a poison pill because poll after poll show about one fifth of the electorate will not support a Mormon, usually the Romney supporters reply, "But, but, but, that's what they said about JFK and the Catholics!" Well, let's look at that. 1) First time it was tried, it was a disaster. For those keeping score, only three times has a Catholic been nominated for President. An amazing thing, as they are the country's largest denomination and have been for much of our history. The first time it was tried was an unmitigated disaster. This was in 1928, when Democrats nominated Al Smith, Governor of New York. Smith didn't even carry his home state against Herbert Hoover. The same Herbert Hoover who had never held an elective office, who would go on to preside over the Great Depression. Smith only carried MA, RI and a slew of Southern states that had no Republican Party to speak of. President Elect - 1928 Now, Smith's Catholicism wasn't the only factor in his crushing defeat, but it didn't help. 2)There were enough Catholics to make up the difference. - In 1959, there were about 25% of the electorate who said that they would not vote for a Catholic. That number dropped to 21% in 1960 and 13% in 1961. But here was the key thing. In 1960, about 25% of the population was Catholic. So for every bigot who wouldn't vote for a Catholic, there was a Catholic willing to step up to the bat and say "Our time has come!" Simply won't be the case with the Mormons. They are only 2% of the population, and they normally skew Republican anyway. So every evangelical driven away, there's no Mormon ready to pick up the torch. 3) The Anti-Catholic Vote was skewing Republican, anyway.- Going back to that 1959 number, of that 25% that said they wouldn't vote for a Catholic, 33% were Republicans, while 22% were Democrats and 18% were independents. In short, if you weren't going to vote for a Catholic, you probably weren't going to vote for a Democrat anyway. (And to note, the GOP has NEVER nominated a Catholic. Maybe we should nominate Newt, since he's Catholic these days.) 4) JFK should have had it in the bag. - The 1960 election was close. Some people even insisted Richard Nixon had won, save for some vote fraud in Texas and Chicago. Only 120,000 votes separated them. (The electoral college was more lopsided.) Now think about that. Here you had a time when most people leaned Democratic, Ike had only won because he supported the New Deal and Keynesian policies. The South was solidly Democratic (even Smith carried the South.) JFK was a war hero, his family had spent years building his image in this new media called Television. He was young, handsome, Charismatic, had Hollywood types singing his praises at a time when Hollywood was loved. And he very nearly lost to Ike's sweaty, red-baiting, hunch-backed Vice President. Thank God for Dead Voters in Chicago. Now, for all you guys who say that Obama is going to be easy to beat, he will never be as reviled as Dick Nixon was. This is not a time to throw the dice. 5) Catholics really aren't that weird - Here's the thing. There really isn't that much separating Catholicism and Protestant denominations. They believe the Pope has authority, that communion really turns into Jesus, and that there are seven sacrements instead of just two. But that's really about it. Mormonism is a whole raft of weirdness that doesn't get prettier when people learn more about it.