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LDS Democrats could impact elections in swing states

LDS Democrats could impact elections in swing states

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Opinion poll numbers for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are close. Both President Barack Obama and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are campaigning around the country to garner votes from all types of voters. A new survey indicates Romney could get a boost from Utah voters from the other side of the aisle who share his faith.

A survey from the BYU Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy shows 23 percent of Utah Democrats view Mitt Romney favorably. That number jumps to 42 percent when researchers surveyed Latter-day Saint Democrats.

"There's a religious affinity for Romney among LDS Democrats," said Quin Monson, Director, BYU Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.

In a recent blog post from the center, a survey shows most Mormon Democrats think Romney's candidacy is a boon for their faith. However, Monson said the June telephone survey did not ask Utah LDS democrats if they would vote for Romney in the upcoming election.

There's a religious affinity for Romney among LDS Democrats.

–Quin Monson

"Even though they view him favorably, they're going to vote for Obama anyway," said Monson. "My suspicion is that's the case. We're not going to see 42 percent of Mormon Democrats voting for Mitt Romney."

Still, Monson said the survey could mean that a higher percentage of Utah Mormon Democrats vote for Mitt Romney than Democrats in general. The analysis is significant when considering battle ground states with significant LDS populations such as Nevada and Colorado.

In past elections, Mormons have been roughly 10 percent of the electorate in Nevada, said Monson. This upcoming election, that number could jump to 12 percent, especially among Democrats who are more conservative than the national party base.

"I don't think people are factoring in the possibility," said Monson. "That Romney will get some extra help from the favorability and affinity that Mormon Democrats feel for Romney."

The survey also shows Utah Democrats seem to be happier with the GOP nominee (Romney) at 23 percent than Utah Republicans with President Obama at 5 percent. Meanwhile, only 16 percent of Utah Democrats of other faiths and 19 percent of non-religious Democrats have an affinity for Mitt Romney.

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