Monday, May 11, 2009

Gallup Poll Shows Barack Obama's Approval Rating Highest Among Muslims, Lowest Among Mormons; Mormons Who Approve Prefer His Style Over Substance

Muslims and Mormons may have some things in common, but Barack Obama is defintely not one of them. BYU Newsnet is reporting on a Gallup Poll which sounded out public opinion about President Barack Obama by religious grouping. The full poll did not seek to break down opinion by individual religious denomination.

Highlights: The poll was conducted during the period January 21-April 29, 2009 with a total sample size of 99,494. Group sample sizes (given in parentheses below) tend to reflect the percentage of that group in the greater population:

Muslims (0.4 percent): 85 percent Approve, 7 percent Disapprove
Jews (2 percent): 79 percent Approve, 16 percent Disapprove
Nonreligious (12 percent): 73 percent Approve, 15 percent Disapprove
Catholics (25 percent): 67 percent Approve, 22 percent Disapprove
Protestants (55 percent): 58 percent Approve, 30 percent Disapprove
Mormons (2 percent): 45 percent Approve, 40 percent Disapprove

A more recent Gallup poll taken May 7-9 indicates an overall 66 percent approval rating for Obama, although only 25 percent would vote for him again in 2012. The latter figure implies that some "buyer's remorse" may be taking root.

Ken Stiles, a BYU political science professor, said he believes the lower level of support among LDS Church members stems from a general distrust of government. “Mormons are generally conservative on social and economic issues,” Stiles said. “At the same time, Mormons often view any government intervention — even well-intentioned — with skepticism. The net result is general opposition to a president who is liberal on most social and economic policies and views government activism favorably.”

Several prominent Latter-day Saints, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and conservative commentator Glenn Beck, consider Obama's policies counter-productive. Beck, who joined the Church in 1999, has become an increasingly high-profile opponent of the Obama administration, occasionally expressing his criticism in religious language. “The government is acting in the role of Lucifer,” Beck said on his syndicated radio program last Tuesday. “They are taking stuff from you. They are forcing you — yes; I did just say the government is the devil. They are taking your choices from you.”

Many Latter-day Saints who support Obama are more captivated by his personal qualities rather than his policies. They cite his exemplification of self-help, self-control, integrity, and devotion to society and to family, and consider him a missionary for many basic gospel principles. Basically, Obama charmed them out of their votes.

What they won't say is the fact that Obama defies the typical stereotype of Black men, out of fear of being called "racist". But that's undoubtedly a motivation in the minds of many White voters. Which is a good thing if he can motivate more Black men to emulate his example of conduct and behavior. This remains to be seen.

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