GALLUP: Being a Muslim not as disqualifying as being a Socialist

As a national conversation heats up about electing a hypothetical Muslim president, it’s worth noting being a Socialist, like Bernie Sanders is, is a deal-breaker for more Americans.

A June Gallup survey found 60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans would vote for a “generally well-qualified” Muslim candidate for president if one were nominated by their party and 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would not. But, that’s actually not the worst thing a candidate could be. An atheist candidate would lose 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of the electorate. And, most Americans, 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, would not vote for a generally well-qualified Socialist candidate nominated by their party.

Being a Catholic, female, black, Hispanic, or Jewish candidate would turn away relatively few while 18{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would not vote for a Mormon candidate, 24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would not vote for a gay or lesbian candidate, and 25{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would not vote for an Evangelical Christian candidate. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found similar results with fewer Americans expressing adverse opinions of a gay or lesbian candidate than of an Evangelical Christian candidate.


Of course, one’s party identification plays a significant role in these attitudes.

  • Just 26{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Republicans would vote for a socialist candidate in the improbable scenario that would result in one being nominated by the GOP. Close to half of Republicans, 45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, say they would vote for a Muslim or an Atheist candidate while 84{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for an Evangelical Christian candidate or a Mormon, and 95{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for a Jewish candidate. Sixty-one percent (61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Republicans say they would vote for a gay or lesbian Republican presidential candidate.
  • A socialist candidate would lose a majority of the Independent vote, with just 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying they would vote for one while 59{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats say they would vote for a Socialist candidate.
  • Among Democrats, 92{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they would be willing to vote for a Jewish candidate, 79{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for a Mormon candidate, 73{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for a Muslim candidate, 66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for an Evangelical Christian candidate, and 64{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} would vote for an atheist candidate.


The Gallup survey also shows age provides a sharp cut in opinions. While majorities of Americans under 50 years old would vote for any type of candidate tested, just 37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of 50-64 year olds and 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of those age 65+ would vote for a socialist candidate. For most seniors, a Muslim candidate would not get their vote as only 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they would be willing to vote for one.


Public Opinion Strategies