Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Not to Get Elected in America

The chart below was published in The New York Times [God ’08: Whose, and How Much, Will Voters Accept?]. It's pretty scary when you think about it.

The numbers indicate the percentage of respondents who would said they would be less (or more) likely to vote for a candidate with the indicated traits. The data is from a Pew survey in February that was already blogged. It's worth a second look.

I can tell you one thing for certain—America is never going to have a President who is gay, atheist, 75 years old, and never before held public office. On the other hand, if you're a Christian and long time Washington politician with previous military service, then you're a shoo-in.

[Hat Tip: Alex Palazzo at The Daily Transcript]


  1. So gay, Muslim or having used drugs area all equally bad, but either one is still much better than atheist? Interesting.

    What really surprised me was the depth of bias against people who have used antidepressants - having done something to improve your mental health is worse than being a Mormon! :)

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  3. On the brighter side, while there are some differences between ethnicities (including "Woman" :-), they are small factors. But former ministers is halfway to the backyard.

  4. There is at least one tricky point of interpretation in the chart, though. According to the survey, only 4% of Americans are less like to elect someone because they are black, but I simply don't believe it: racism is far too common everywhere here.

    It's more likely that it's been strongly hammered into people that admitting your racism is bad, and that's what we're seeing in the chart. People are regularly told that it's ok to hate on homosexuals and godless people, so those values are probably somewhat closer to the actual levels of prejudice.

    It's also interesting that some few people see a cigarette-smoking divorced adulterer with a handicap as a net plus to someone's suitability for the presidency.

  5. PZ's explanation makes more sense.

    These types of statistics aren't too reliable - I am reminded of the self reporting of religion statistics that fluctuates wildly. (But of course gives a rough pointer when compared between nations.)