As the first Democratic presidential primary votes begin in Iowa and New Hampshire, polling company Gallup has released a survey showing how some characteristics of candidates still heavily influence how people vote in a presidential election.
The survey asked over 1,000 U.S. adults living in all 50 states how certain characteristics affect how they choose a presidential candidate. Over 90 percent of all respondents said they would vote for a candidate who was black, a woman, Catholic, Hispanic or Jewish. However, less than 70 percent of all respondents said they would vote for a Muslim, atheist or socialist candidate if given a choice.
The differences were more pronounced based on political ideology. Overall, Democrats were more likely to vote for a presidential candidate regardless of certain characteristics. The largest discrepancy came on the question of voting for a self-proclaimed socialist candidate, where only 17 percent of Republicans said they would vote "yes" compared to 76 percent of Democrats who would vote "yes."
Ultimately, tolerance for these characteristics in a presidential candidate has risen since Gallup first conducted this survey in 1958. For example, only 18 percent of all respondents in 1958 said they would vote for a self-proclaimed atheist presidential candidate, compared to 60 percent in 2020. 38 percent of all respondents said they would vote for a black presidential candidate in 1958, compared to 96 percent in 2020.