Fred Karger, a 2012 Republican candidate for president, is gay. According to a just-released Pew poll, Americans are 33% less likely to vote for him because he’s gay. But Karger can take heart knowing that his ultra-homophobic opponent, Newt Gingrich, has a tougher battle. Americans are 46% less likely to vote for a candidate who has had an extra-marital affair — and Gingrich, often-described as a “serial adulterer,” has had several.
Before we go any further, it is offensive to place sexual orientation — along with race — in a list of traits that affect how American will vote, but the poll does just that. And so do the American people.
Americans, according to Pew, are more likely to vote for a gay, lesbian, or bisexual candidate for President than for a candidate who has had an extra-marital affair, who does not believe in God, or who has never held elected office before. (Sorry, Fred, but that last one makes your road steeper.)
Overall, one out of three Americans, 33%, are now less likely to vote for a candidate who is gay — and that’s good news. In 2007, 46% of Americans were less likely to vote for a homosexual candidate. At the extremes, White Evangelicals are now 65% less likely to vote for a candidate who is gay, and those who are unaffiliated with a religion are 17% less likely to vote for a candidate who is gay.
The largest change from 2007 were Blacks, who went from 53% to 34% this year, and those 65 and older, who went from 59% to 40%.
While these numbers aren’t really good — sexual orientation should not be a disqualifier — they show things are getting better for the LGBT community.
Americans are 61% less likely to vote for an Atheist, and 51% less likely to vote for a candidate who has never held elected office before.
Sadly, gays have it harder out of the box than Mormons (25% less likely), marijuana users 24% less likely), and business executives (14% less likely).
The same poll does look at the same traits under “more likely” too. 3% of Americans are more likely to vote for a gay candidate, 5% more likely to vote for a Mormon, 35% more likely to vote for a business executive, and 2% more likely to vote for an adulterer.
Note to Time Magazine’s Amy Sullivan, who wrote today, “Now, obviously, there’s no openly gay candidate running for the Republican nomination,” yes, there is a gay Republican running for President. You should have known that.
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