In a Pew Research Public Opinion poll released last week, 25 percent responded that they are less likely to vote for a Mormon, 51 percent said they know "not very much" or nothing about the Mormon religion and only 52 percent agreed that Mormons are Christians.
Let's get real here.
Romney, the Republican former governor of Massachusetts, is spending a ton of money in Iowa and around the country. Despite outspending everyone, he's gotten nowhere in the national polls. He's behind Huckabee in Iowa, although he's outspent him 10 to one.
This is not driven by any "don't vote for the Mormon" campaign. It's being driven by Romney's failure to sell himself to Republican voters.
As I have written previously, it's a question of credibility rather than Mormonism.
Flip-flops on important social issues aside, David Kusnet defines the problem well in this week's New Republic. He calls it "managerialism," rather than Mormonism.
This came through loud and clear in Romney's recent appearance on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" program.
Responding to co-host Alan Colmes' question about who he expected to be the Democratic nominee, Romney began his response by saying, "...I'm not sure who the Democratic nominee will be. But in this regard, they're pretty much all the same ..."
I leaned forward in anticipation of hearing that they're all liberals.
But, no. ".... you have in Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards three people who really haven't run anything, who don't have executive experience, who don't really understand how the economy works."
I guess if they had been CEOs or governors, then it would be OK that they all want to tax, spend and regulate us into oblivion and that each one condemned the Supreme Court's decision banning partial-birth abortions.
The best way for Romney to get Mormonism out of the discussion, to the extent it is in it, is to capture hearts and minds with values and views that resonate with voters.
Meanwhile, regarding the discussion of Mormonism, or any other religion, let's recall that the same First Amendment that prohibits government establishment of religion also guarantees free speech.