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Almost 70 Percent of Americans Say They'd Vote for a Gay President

Almost 70 Percent of Americans Say They'd Vote for a Gay President

A new poll finds a large increase in Americans who would consider pulling the lever for a gay or lesbian candidate.

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Many have been surprised by the early success of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old gay mayor of South Bend, Ind. -- he's garnered an enviable amount of media attention and pulled in at least $7 million in campaign donations.

A new poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal partly reveals why Buttigieg is being embraced so warmly. Since NBC/WSJ last queried American voters on the matter in 2006, the share of Americans "ok" with a gay or lesbian candidate is now at a stunning 68 percent (it doesn't appear that respondents were specifically asked about bisexual or transgender candidates). That breaks down to 14 percent who are "enthusiastic" for a gay candidate and 54 percent "comfortable" with such a politician.

Only 43 percent of voters would consider a gay presidential candidate in 2006 -- a year where George W. Bush was president, marriage equality was a mostly new concept, and "don't ask, don't tell" was in effect. Many people that year expressed hostility to an out candidate, with 19 percent having "reservations" and 34 percent being "very uncomfortable" with the idea.

The evolution in acceptance crosses all age demographics, with a majority of people (56 percent) over age 65 now indicating they're fine with a gay presidential candidate. When it comes to people ages 18-34, the number jumps to 75 percent. Of course, being comfortable with a gay candidate is not the same as voting for one.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.