Would you vote for a ________ for president?

Last month the Gallup organization released the results of its latest poll asking Americans whether they’d be willing to vote for a well-qualified candidate, one nominated by their preferred party, if that candidate happened to be black, a woman, a Catholic, a unicorn, etc.

Now, obviously, the results are bound to be skewed by what people are willing to say to a pollster. Someone actually quite unwilling to vote for a member of some group might not want to admit that if he or she was afraid it might look bad.

Still, the results are interesting, especially viewed over time. The page linked to above gives polling results going back to 1937 for some categories. In 1937 only a third said they’d vote for a woman. That figure is now 95 percent. Back then just 46 percent said they’d vote for a Jewish candidate versus 91 percent today — a figure I still find surprisingly and disturbingly low. The question of whether one would vote for a black candidate wasn’t even asked in 1937, but in 1958 only 38 percent said they would versus 96 percent today.

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