Poll: Voters Prefer Philandering, Pot-Smoking President Over Atheist

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 01:45 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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The greatest liability for an American presidential candidate: atheism, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

Not believing in God was an issue for 70 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats, according to a Huffington Post report on the poll, which noted that those figures represented the opinions of Protestants and Catholics, as well as 24 percent of the religiously unaffiliated.

Only 5 percent of respondents said they would vote for a secular candidate, according to the Huffington Post. Atheism ranked as the most negative attribute of the 16 total characteristics queried.

The survey of 1,501 people across the country asking about presidential candidate traits found that atheists are "the most disliked and distrusted minority group in the nation," according to the Huffington Post, citing a 2006 University of Minnesota survey.

Sixty-one percent  would not have their vote influenced by a candidate’s extramarital affair, and an even higher number – 70 percent – have no issue with a candidate’s acknowledgment of past marijuana use, according to Pew, while 22 percent would be less likely to vote for a candidate who has admitted to marijuana use.

Sixty-six percent didn’t care if the candidate was gay or lesbian, while 27 percent said they would be less likely to cast their vote for a homosexual.

Years of experience in Washington, once considered a prerequisite to getting elected, would be a turnoff to 30 percent of voters surveyed, while 19 percent said that experience would make them more likely to vote for that person. Nearly half – 48 percent – said it didn’t matter.

Prior military service topped the chart as the most valuable asset for a presidential contender, with 43 percent of respondents saying they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who had served in the armed forces. It was followed by experience as a governor and a business executive, both ranking 33 percent.

Ageism appears to be on the decline when it comes to a commander in chief, according to the survey results. While 36 percent say they’d be less likely to cast their ballot for a candidate in their 70s, 55 percent indicated that age wouldn’t matter. In February 2007, when Sen. John McCain was leading in the GOP primary race, 48 percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for someone in their 70s.

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