Over the past year, there's no doubt that Mormonism has received increasing attention in media, politics and entertainment. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is the current GOP front-runner in the 2012 race. Another contender, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, is a Mormon as well. And who can forget the Broadway musical "Book of Mormon," which has both captivated -- and offended -- audiences.
With the presence of Mormonism continuing to pop up, the Pew Research Center has released a major survey that documents how Mormons feel about the new-found media blitz their faith is receiving, the 2012 campaign and the way their fellow Americans view them. Pew has more:
The survey paints a mixed picture: Many Mormons feel they are misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by other Americans as part of mainstream society. Yet, at the same time, a majority of Mormons think that acceptance of Mormonism is rising. Overwhelmingly, they are satisfied with their lives and content with their communities.
Let's start with the first part of the picture -- the notion that Mormons are misunderstood. Pew found that an overwhelming 68 percent do not believe that they are viewed as mainstream by society. Additionally, and considering this result -- not surprisingly -- six in 10 maintain that the public is uninformed about the Mormon faith.
Other results that seem to piggy-back off of these feelings expose the fact that Mormons feel they're misrepresented in media. More than half (54 percent) say that television and film portrayals hurt their image. Nearly half (46 percent) report "a lot" of discrimination against their faith. Considering these numbers, there's a sizable concern among Mormons regarding how the public views them and how this perception is played out and reinforced through channels of communication.
Now, let's delve into the more positive findings. While the current scenario isn't overwhelmingly bright, 63 percent of Mormons say that acceptance of their faith is improving. In fact, the majority of adherents (56 percent) believe that the nation is prepared to elect a Mormon president; 32 percent say that the nation isn't, in fact, ready to take this step.
When it comes to political affiliation, Mormons are more conservative than the general public. ABC News reports:
Seventy-four percent of Mormons surveyed say they lean toward the Republican party, and 66 percent describe themselves as conservatives, much higher than the national average of 37 percent. That political ideology is reflected in their views of politicians - 86 percent view Romney favorably and 50 percent hold a positive view of another Mormon candidate, Jon Huntsman. But considerably less, only 22 percent, are supportive of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is also a Mormon.