Tuesday, February 20, 2007

wait a minute

So, I was looking at a new Gallup poll indicating what percentage of people would vote for different categories of candidates if they were "generally well-qualified."

Black 94%
Jewish 92%
A woman 88%
Hispanic 87%
Mormon 72%
Married for third time 67%
72 years of age 57%
A homosexual 55%
An atheist 45%

At first, I was like, "wow, we've come a long way from, probably, 10 or 20 years ago." But, then I looked at it again. 8% of the people would not vote for a Jewish person?? Until college, I never knew that "Jewish" was an ethnic category that people didn't like. I knew it was a minority religion, and I knew about the Holocaust, but certainly wouldn't have guessed that there was a present-day racism going on. And, yeah, sadly, the 6% who wouldn't vote for a black person and 13% who wouldn't vote for a Hispanic candidate don't surprise me in the slightest.

12% of people wouldn't vote for a woman?

And I can't figure out how I feel about the homosexual one. On the one hand, hey, 45% of people would vote for a gay person! That's gotta be an improvement over not long ago. But 55% wouldn't.

The atheist thing doesn't surprise me. Either people are more comfortable telling an interviewer they wouldn't vote for an atheist (after all, you're a racist if you say you won't vote for a black person and labeled a Nazi if you won't vote for a Jew) or there's something to this article, and while we're more accepting of minority religions generally we're reinforcing the boundaries between "religious" and "not-religious."

But what I really wonder is about the interaction. Let's face it, when the interviewer asks if you would vote for a woman, an implicitly white woman springs to mind. Black: an implicitly male black person. Gay: a white male gay person. So, what about lesbians? Black women? A female Mormon? A female FLDS Mormon* with the potential problem of sister-wives... are they first ladies along with the first husband? Do they all get to bring inspirational guests to the State of the Union? They're in the marriage, too...

* I realize that the entire point of my post is that barriers and intolerance are breaking down. Yet here I am making fun of a minority religious group. But, come on. Plural marriage is 1) illegal, 2) bad for women and children and probably men. Right? I know I've seen this. Is there a study on this? Either way, I don't feel too bad for making fun of them. But that's not to say I wouldn't vote for them. But it's extremely unlikely they would agree with me on very much.

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