Gallup has released the results of their not-quite-annual poll asking people the following question:
If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be ________, would you vote for that person?
Obviously, most of the discussion in the media will revolve around the results for “Mormon” — 80% of Americans could see themselves voting for a Mormon. 18% say they wouldn’t.
But it looks like, once again, atheists are at the bottom of the list.
Only 54% of Americans would vote for us… 43% would not. Not that we want to see low numbers in any of the other categories, but gays/lesbians and Muslims have a better rating than we do.
I suppose we can be thrilled that, for the first time, more than half the country would theoretically vote for us…
I feel the same way.
Notwithstanding the Mormon trend, Gallup’s history on this question shows growing acceptance for all other types of candidates over time. That includes atheists, whose acceptability as candidates surpassed 50% for the first time last summer but have typically ranked at the bottom of the list whenever the question has been asked.
There actually is some good news for us. The percentage of people who say they would vote for an atheist has been going up over the years… it’s still low, but not as low as it used to be:
The only group whose approval-levels have changed less than ours is “Catholic”… but they were at a much higher percentage than us to begin with and now have near-universal approval.
Also in the Gallup poll: More Democrats (58%) than Republicans (48%) would vote for an atheist presidential candidate from their own party.
And the Millennials are our greatest allies — 70% of people 18-29 would support an atheist:
While one might think the best way to fix this is to *have* an atheist candidate people could vote for — letting America know that we’re patriotic and worth supporting — Gallup suggests otherwise:
Americans’ willingness to vote for a Mormon is not significantly greater now than in the past. That suggests that it may take more than simply having a prominent future candidate who is gay, Muslim, or an atheist to bring Americans’ acceptance of candidates from those backgrounds up to near-unanimous levels.
Does anyone believe the percentage of people willing to vote for an (openly) atheist presidential candidate will ever hit the 90s?
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