More Americans feel comfortable with a presidential candidate who identifies as gay or lesbian than with one who identifies as an evangelical Christian, according to a new poll.
The latest WSJ/NBC poll listed a series of qualities in a potential presidential candidate and asked respondents whether they'd "be enthusiastic," "be comfortable with," "have some reservations about" or "be very uncomfortable with" a candidate with each of those qualities.
The results revealed that Americans are actually quite open to having a gay presidential candidate. Sixty-one percent said they would be either enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate, while only 37 percent said they would have reservations or be uncomfortable.
By comparison, respondents were a little less comfortable with the prospect of a candidate who is an evangelical Christian. Fifty-two percent said they'd be enthusiastic about or comfortable with an evangelical Christian running for president, while 44 percent expressed some degree of hesitancy about the idea. (Two percent of respondents said they were not sure about a gay or lesbian candidate, while four percent were not sure about an evangelical.)
The results point to a cultural shift in perceptions of gay people in recent years. While perspectives on evangelicals remain largely the same, the same survey found in 2006 that only 43 percent of Americans fully accepted the idea of a gay or lesbian presidential candidate, while 53 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable.
Other qualities that made more respondents uncomfortable than comfortable included not having a college degree, being a leader in the tea party, and lacking previous elected experience.
The WSJ/NBC poll surveyed 1,000 adults via live interviews on landlines and cell phones between April 26-30.