American Prejudices: By the Numbers

I have often quoted numbers and statistics related to the bigotry and close-mindedness of the American people.  Of particular concern to me is the relatively large numbers of people that they would never vote for a person based on certain factors (examples include being black, being a woman, being homosexual, or being an atheist).  PollingReport.com’s Politics page provides a summary of the various findings from the many different polls that are taken. 

Of particular interest to me is the result of a fairly recent Gallup Poll.  Here are the details and the question asked to over 1,000 adults in the United States:

“Between now and the 2008 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 below], would you vote for that person?” Trend includes slight variation in wording.

Note: The left-hand column in the charts is used to express the dates of the results.  It’s extremely difficult to read, but it does convey the data.

There are many results in the list that I find disheartening (and others that I find downright scary).  For example, Atheists rank at the absolute bottom of the list.  Put another way, no single group is more despised by American adults.  Anyone who planned to run for President would at least have to pay lip service to religion (read: Christianity) in order to have a chance of leading the country. 

Note, however, that almost anyone would vote for a Catholic.  Apparently, issues such as hypocrisy in the church and widespread, organized child sex rings aren’t much of a detractor as long as one claims to adhere to these bizarre, outdated, and backwards practices.  People report that they are much more likely to vote for a Mormon or a homosexual than an atheist.  I have to wonder, though, how many of these people have any idea what it is that Mormons actually teach and believe.

On the bright side, the general trends are positive.  A large majority of people would vote for a black or female candidate (compare this to the early numbers, and we’re clearly headed in the right direction).  Still, it’s extremely frustrating to me that there’s so much outstanding prejudice in areas such as race and beliefs. 

Apparently, it’s fine for the leader of our nation to wage war on another country without evidence.  No one seems to care about his claim that God told him to do it.  Yet someone who chooses not to believe in supernatural forces, mysticism, miracles and superstition stands little or no chance of ever running the United States.

Note: The Polling Report page that I linked to earlier is a wealth of information from numerous other polls and studies into Americans’ attitudes.  Upon reviewing some of them, it looks like the Gallup Poll results were actually optimistic.

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