Ever since Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announced their respective presidential bids, there’s been some debate over whether or not Americans would be willing to vote for a Mormon president. Apparently- the vast majority- 80 percent- are, while 18 percent are not, according a newly released poll from Gallup.
The poll showed that Americans are least likely to vote for someone who identifies as Atheist- 54 percent, with individuals of Muslim faith following closely behind- just 58 percent of Americans responded they’d be willing to vote for someone who was Muslim. 68 percent said that they would vote for a presidential candidate who was gay or lesbian, while the rest of the groups- Black, Female, Catholic, Hispanic and Jewish, each had yes responses 90 percent or more.
Interestingly enough, the percent of Americans who say that they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate has been virtually unchanged since Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, ran for president in 1967. A Gallup poll taking in April of that year found that 17 percent of respondents said they would not vote for a “well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to be Mormon.”
Americans resistance to voting for presidential candidates of the other aforementioned racial, gender, and religious backgrounds has subsided substantially over roughly the same time period. Gallup polling from 1958 onward has consistently shown increases in the percent of Americans willing to vote for candidates who were Black, Jewish, female, Catholic, and Gay or Lesbian (although that group was not included in polling until the 1970′s.)
The Muslim question was not included in polling until 2012.
Even Atheists have seen an increase in hypothetical support. In 1958 just 18 percent of Americans said they’d be willing to vote for an Atheist presidential candidate.
Republicans in this most recent poll reported a higher willingness to vote for a Mormon candidate- 90 percent, as opposed to 72 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Independents. However, as Gallup notes, that is likely tied to the fact that the Republicans presumptive nominee is Mormon.