The same poll also discovered, however, that only 36% of voters (including 40% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic) think the United States is ready to elect a gay president.
What’s the point: Right now, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is one of the top 5 contenders vying for the Democratic nomination process. He is a married gay man.
These poll results suggest that most Americans — and Democrats in particular — are open to electing him president, so long as he meets other qualifications.
Yet, it seems like Buttigieg may run into electability concerns for the simple reason that Democrats don’t think (perhaps wrongly if you believe this poll) the country is ready. It’s also possible that some voters are not willing to admit to homophobia, while signaling it by saying essentially, “I’m ready, but others may not be.”
I should note that polling on whether the country is ready for a gay president differs significantly from polling on whether Americans thought the country was ready for a black president in 2007 or a woman president in 2015.
Interestingly, in all three instances, more voters said they were ready for a black, female or gay president than thought the country was ready for one.
But even if Americans are more tolerant of gay Americans than voters think they are, more are prejudiced against gay Americans than they were against black Americans in 2007 or women in 2014. Today, about a quarter of all voters (including 10% of Democrats) told Quinnipiac that they weren’t open to vote for a gay man for president. Back in 2007 and 2015, 5% or less of Americans and Democrats said they weren’t willing to vote for a qualified black person and woman to be president, respectively.
Further, it’s possible that if Buttigieg becomes successful on the campaign trail, then Americans may become even more open to the idea of a gay president.
Still, it’s pretty clear from the numbers that there is still a portion of the electorate for whom Buttigieg’s sexuality is an issue.