Poll: religion remains a sticking point for LDS presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney is stepping away from the rest of the field for the GOP presidential nomination and is increasingly competitive against President Obama, though the former Massachusetts governor faces a potential problem because of his religion, according to the Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday.

A quarter of Republicans or GOP-leaning independent voters said they would back Romney over the rest of field for the Republican nod. It was the best showing for Romney in months and the first time any Republican had garnered so much support from his own party, a sign that Republicans may be coalescing a bit in these early days of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Still, Romney faces a possible political problem because of his religion, the Quinnipiac poll and other surveys have found. Overall, only 45% said they had a favorable opinion of the Mormon religion, while 32% said they had an unfavorable one. Other polls have found different numbers, but most agree that between a quarter and a third of voters say they would have a problem voting for a Mormon, creating a tough situation  for Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is flirting with a presidential bid.

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