Discrimination against U.S. presidential candidates 1978-2012, by various attributes

This statistic depicts American survey respondents answers to a question asked in 1978, 1999 and 2012 about whether or not they would vote for presidential candidates nominated by their own political party, who had specific religious, racial or gender characteristics. In 2012, 54 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for an atheist presidential candidate.

Would you vote for a U.S. presidential candidate who is either a woman, black, jewish, gay, an atheist or Catholic?

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Release date

June 2012


United States

Survey time period

1978 to 2012

Number of respondents

Approx 1,000 each year

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

Original survey question: "Between now and the 2012 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates, their education, age, religion, race and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be (see list), would you vote for that person?"

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