Mitt Romney might be leading or tied in the polls for the key primary states, but only 42 percent are able to identify him as a Mormon, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll released Thursday.


Forty-five percent of those polled said they didn’t know what Romney’s religion was, while 10 percent misidentified him as Protestant, Catholic or some other denomination, or said they didn’t think he was religious.

Even as the primary season heats up and the candidates have been scrutinized on nationally televised debates that have pulled in massive ratings, the number of people who can correctly identify Romney as a Mormon remains virtually unchanged from July, when 40 percent were able to do so.

According to the poll, Romney leads the other candidates, with 20 percent saying he has political views that are closest to their own. Herman Cain followed with 17 percent, Ron Paul with 12 percent and Rick Perry with 10 percent.

But Romney polled the lowest when people were asked which candidate held religious beliefs that were closest to their own. Twenty percent said none of the candidates shared their religious views, while 12 percent identified with Cain, 11 percent with Perry, 9 percent with Paul and 7 percent with Romney.