He’s gay, he’s married to a man and he’s a millennial — all reasons why many critics think Pete Buttigieg could never win the U.S. presidency. Could America possibly be ready to elect a gay president? The answer is yes, according to polling data released this week that says most registered U.S. voters are perfectly fine with a gay presidential candidate.
Buttigieg, currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana (the same state that gave us Mike Pence), has been slaying headlines of late with news of how well his run for president is going. He’s raised more than $7 million in the first quarter of 2019, and just today we’ve seen Buttigieg rise in polls tracking support for likely 2020 Democratic candidates. (“Mayor Pete” currently sits at 3% in a Morning Consult poll, having surpassed a few higher-profile candidates.)
But does Buttigieg — or any gay presidential candidate — truly have a chance at the highest office in the land?
According to a new poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, 68% of registered American voters of all political affiliations are perfectly fine with a gay presidential candidate. Of that 68%, 54% consider themselves “comfortable” with a gay candidate, while 14% actually say they’re “enthusiastic” about a lesbian or gay presidential candidate.
Even better, this new polling data indicates a pretty massive uptick in America being ready for a gay president since 13 years ago.
NBC and The Wall Street Journal conducted the exact same poll in December 2006, and at the time more than 30% of Americans said they were “very uncomfortable” with a gay presidential candidate, while an additional 19% said they had “reservations” about the idea. Only 5% were “enthusiastic” about the idea.
Here’s what Newsweek points out:
The number of young people under 35 who are enthusiastic or comfortable with a gay candidate jumped by 28 percentage points between 2006 and today. Last month, three-quarters of people under 35 polled said they are optimistic about an LGBT presidential candidate. Even among seniors, a majority (56%) said they would have no objections to an LGBT candidate — up nearly one-third since 2006.
As older American citizens fall off the roster of registered voters due to death, and as more teens register to vote upon coming of age, by the time of the 2020 U.S. presidential election the country will see its highest ever percentage of voters who are perfectly fine — even enthusiastic — for a gay president.
Sure, 2020 may not be the year America elects a gay president into office, but it’s merely a matter of time, and now we’ve got the cold, hard facts to prove it.