A new poll released Wednesday reveals "intense bias against Mormons," according to survey researchers at Vanderbilt and Claremont Graduate University. They found:

• Bias against Mormons is significantly more intense compared to bias against women and blacks. Bias against Mormons is even more pronounced among conservative evangelicals, who rank Mormons close to atheists

• Only 50 percent of Americans claim to know a Mormon or to know that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is Mormon.

• The extent of bias against Romney is moderated if the respondent already knows he is Mormon. That information seems to make people more tolerant of his faith.

• When respondents are provided information that stereotypes Mormons, i.e., "Mormons are part of a non-Christian cult" or "Mormons are polygamist," they react negatively to Romney's candidacy.

• Participants react favorably to messages that dispel negative stereotypes, i.e., "about 100 years ago the Mormon Church banned polygamy," or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stresses traditional family values." Simple appeals for religious tolerance do not win support for Romney.