PHILADELPHIA ― “If the party whose candidate you most often support nominated a woman for President of the United States, would you vote for her if she seemed best qualified for the job?” pollsters from Gallup asked the American public in 1945, two years before Hillary Clinton was born. Just a third said yes.
Seventy years later, in 2015, Gallup asked the same question again. This time, 92 percent of voters said they would.
It’s difficult to gauge exactly what role gender will play in this year’s election. Voters today inevitably view even generic questions about a female president through the lens of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, which on Tuesday culminated with her officially becoming the first woman to clinch a major-party presidential nomination.
But Gallup’s question, which they’ve repeated across the intervening decades, more or less successfully takes partisanship out of the equation. Instead, it asks Americans to consider whether a qualified candidate belonging to their favored party should be excluded merely on the basis of her gender. The shift in responses across the past seven decades cuts through the partisanship and polarization surrounding the 2016 campaign to demonstrate the American public’s steadily growing consensus that a woman is capable of leading a nation.
Americans Who Would Support A Qualified Woman As Their Party’s Presidential Nominee
(All data via the Roper Center.)