One in five US voters would not vote for Mormon president

Iz it coz I iz a follower of da Latter Day Saints movement?

Mitt Romney has a commanding lead among the already-declared Republican candidates. The only man who can stop him (some argue) is Jon Huntsman, who is announcing his candidacy today. While the punditocracy are getting hot and bothered over these two candidates, one rather startling poll by Gallup out today could throw cold water over this excitable analysis.

Mormon

Ouch.

Both Romney and Huntsman are Mormons, and this gives poll will give them both a headache. God-fearing they may be, but they fear the wrong God. Well, the wrong interpretation of the right God, at least. It turns out, according to the poll, that being a Mormon is more of an electoral hindrance than being either black, woman, Catholic, Jewish or Hispanic. Only gay people and the godless are more off putting for US voters.

Romney and Huntsman both have an uphill battle with one in five voters unwilling to back them based on their religion. Skin colour no longer matters, but religion - or the lack of it - still does. Ali G needs updating: Iz it cos I iz a follower of da Latter Day Saints movement? In this case, yes.

Photo: Getty
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Fight: Arron Banks versus Mary Beard on the fall of Rome

On the one hand: one of Britain's most respected classicists. On the other: Nigel Farage's sugar daddy. 

Tom Lehrer once said that he would quit satire after Henry Kissinger – him of napalm strikes and the Nixon administration – received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Your mole is likewise minded to hand in hat, glasses and pen after the latest clash of the titans.

In the blue corner: Arron Banks, insurance millionaire and Nigel Farage’s sugar daddy.

In the red corner: Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge, documentarian, author, historian of the ancient world.

It all started when Banks suggested that the fall of the Roman Empire was down to…you guessed it, immigration:

To which Beard responded:

Now, some might back down at this point. But not Banks, the only bank that never suffers from a loss of confidence.

Did Banks have another life as a classical scholar, perhaps? Twitter users were intrigued as to where he learnt so much about the ancient world. To which Banks revealed all:

I, Claudius is a novel. It was written in 1934, and concerns events approximately three centuries from the fall of Rome. But that wasn't the end of Banks' expertise:

Gladiator is a 2000 film. It is set 200 years before the fall of Rome.

Your mole rests. 

I'm a mole, innit.