Mormon Mitt Romney is an early frontrunner among the Republicans vying to run for president – and a new opinion poll shows him in a surprise dead heat with Barack Obama.

Another Mormon, Jon Huntsman, is expected to enter the race. Will their religion be an issue?

It’s a nation that prides itself on having few barriers to the highest office.

Yet the prominence of two Mormons in the Republican race for the White House has raised questions about US attitudes towards the religion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to give its proper name, was founded in 1830 in New York State by Joseph Smith, and today has about 5.7 million members in the US.

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