Most Americans are willing to support a nontraditional candidate for president if they believe that candidate is qualified for the job, according to a new Gallup survey released this week.
The poll represents a monumental shift in American tolerance. Sixty years ago less than half of Americans said they would support a female, Jewish, black, gay, or Atheist candidate, according to Gallup. It found that although most Americans would be tolerant of a nontraditional candidate, their opinions become more divisive based on religious background.
Here’s a look at how Americans as a whole, as well different religious groups of Americans, would support nontraditional candidates.
Mormon presidential candidate?
81% of Americans say they would vote for a qualified Mormon for president. Among Protestants, 80% say they would vote for a Mormon, while 84% of Catholics say they would vote for a Mormon. 85% of atheists or agnostics agreed. In the past, Mormons Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have run for president as Republican candidates.
Gay presidential candidate?
Overall, Gallup found that 74% of Americans would support a qualified gay or lesbian presidential candidate. In addition, 82% of Catholics and 92% of atheists or agnostics would support a gay presidential candidate. Among Protestants, however, only 62% said they would support gay candidate.
Evangelical Christian presidential candidate?
In this April 18, 2015 file photo, former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H.
Pretty good news for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: 73% of Americans would support a qualified evangelical Christian for president.
Protestants would support an evangelical Christian at a rate of 82%, and 72% of Catholics would support such a candidate. Only 57% of atheists or agnostics, however, said they would support a evangelical candidate for president.
Muslim presidential candidate?
60% of Americans say they would support a qualified Muslim for president. 69% of Catholics and 82% of atheists and agnostics feel this way, but only 44% of Protestants say they would vote for a qualified Muslim as president.
Atheist presidential candidate?
58% of Americans say they would vote for a qualified Atheist candidate for president. 91% of self-identified atheists and agnostics feel this way. Among Catholics, 58% say they would vote for an Atheist, while only 47% of Protestants say they would do so.
Socialist presidential candidate?
Socialism is the one ideology a majority of Americans are still not ready to embrace, as only 47% of Americans say they would vote for a qualified socialist as president. That number dips to 28% among Protestants and 46% among Catholics. 74% of atheists and agnostics say they would vote for a socialist.
That’s potentially bad news for US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a Democratic presidential candidate who has described himself as a “democratic socialist.”
Catholic, female, Jewish, black, or Hispanic presidential candidate?
Being Catholic, a woman, Jew, African-American, or Hispanic seems to have little effect on how the American public views a candidate’s fitness for office. More than nine in 10 Americans say they would vote for a qualified candidate from any of these demographics, with little disparity among religious backgrounds.
The Gallup poll featured telephone interviews with 1,500 American adults in all 50 states. The poll was conducted earlier this month.
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