Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp wonders:
Whereas in 1919 evangelicals could still use the recent legacy of polygamy to distinguish their behavior from those of the Mormons, by the 1970s Mormons seemed quite, well, conservatively Christian in their behavior. They touted wholesome family values, they supported traditional roles for women, and they practiced an admirable fastidiousness toward the use of coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes. … [Mormons] have practiced for a century, tinkering with the formula when necessary, and yet their efforts still don’t seem to be good enough for other Americans, who keep moving the bar in response.
[T]he information in the “brief explanation” [of Mormonism] was as neutral in its language as possible. If one wants to assess the effect of Mormonism on how voters will respond to Romney, one needs to present respondents with the sort of information about Mormonism’s theological differences that they are likely to encounter in the coming months. For example, does it matter to these respondents that Mormons have a very different doctrine of God from that of orthodox Trinitarians? We have no idea, because they are never presented with that information, and according to the study’s report the vast majority of respondents was poorly-informed about Mormonism. Maybe it won’t matter, or maybe this is something that is already known and taken into account, but it can’t be measured unless someone asks the right questions.