Poll: Americans would be comfortable with a gay presidential candidate

A recent poll shows that Americans are not only comfortable with a gay presidential candidate, but would prefer a gay president to an evangelical one.

Conducted in April by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, the survey of 1,000 adults showed that 61 percent of Americans would be either enthusiastic or comfortable with a gay or lesbian presidential candidate, as opposed to 52 percent for an evangelical Christian.

When compared to how respondents answered the same questions throughout the past 10 years, evangelicals tend to stay the same, floating between 40 and 50 percent between 2006 and 2015. But gay or lesbian candidates saw an 18-point jump: In 2006, 43 percent said they'd be enthusiastic about or comfortable with it, while 34 percent said it would make them "very uncomfortable." In 2015, only 19 percent said it would make them very uncomfortable.

The past 10 years have also seen a 13-point climb in support for gay marriage. About 55 percent of those surveyed in 2014 said they think same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law and with the same rights as traditional marriage, according to a Gallup poll, compared to 42 percent in 2004.

[Soli Salgado is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Her email address is ssalgado@ncronline.org.]

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