A new study suggests expected GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has his work cut out for him when it comes to his Mormon faith, especially among Christian voters who may not want to take the time to learn more about his faith-based values or the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.
Romney's not the first of his faith to seek the office; his father George sought the Republican nomination in the 1960's as Governor of Michigan. It's also not a leap of faith to draw parallels between the 2012 election and 1960, when John F. Kennedy's Roman Catholic faith was an issue in his primary and general election victories.
Even four years ago, there was considerable discussion of the potential of the first major party woman candidate in Hillary Clinton, and the first major party African-American to serve as a nominee for the White House in Barack Obama.
But this is 2012, and it's Mitt Romney's turn to have his faith under the microscope.
University of Akron Bliss Institute of Applied Politics Director Dr. John Green is co-author of an article in the journal Political Behavior examining the "Stained Glass Ceiling" that may pose the most significant challenge to Romney's bid for the White House. He writes the "social insularity" of the Mormon religion may explain why Romney was unable to break through in his campaign in 2008, and why it poses challenges again for him in 2012.
"It is that his Mormon faith, in particular, makes many people uneasy," Green notes, "and that unease has political consequences." Green co-authored the report with with David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame and Quin Monson of Brigham Young University.
Green makes comparison to Kennedy's 1960 run, but said since that campaign the Catholic Church has become less insular but the "social insularity" of the Mormon Church is one reason why the "...lack of social contact appears to reduce the acceptance of Mormons in the broader population."
Green was a guest on the WAKR Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss his findings, and the report. He also drew comparison to the gender and racial ceilings broken in 2008 with the respective Clinton and Obama campaigns.