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Mormons: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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FEAR OF A LDS PLANET Romney

With the roaring success of Knocked Up (starring LDS cutie Katherine Heigl), Harry Reid's rise to majority leader, Mitt Romney's impressive poll numbers, and the season two premiere of Big Love, Mormons are having their day. But is the Latterday Saints' assault on pop culture playing with voters?

Only 72 percent of Americans would feel comfortable voting for a Mormon candidate, according to a recent Gallup poll, a decline from 75 percent in 1967. Over the last 40 years, in fact, Mormons are the only group of so-called "non-traditional" candidates who have seen their favorability tank (by contrast, 88 percent of those polled in 2007 said they could support a female nominee, as opposed to 57 percent in 1967; 94 percent of those polled in 2007 said they would support a black candidate, compared to 53 percent in 1967). What's more, the Washington Post reports that 79 percent of voters would feel comfortable with a candidate who smokes.

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So is America ready for a Mormon president? Only slightly less ready than they are to elect a nicotine-addicted candidate with a cancer-causing habit.

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