In case Pete Buttigieg's unexpected popularity in the Democratic primary weren't evidence enough, a new poll says that American voters are more comfortable than ever with the idea of voting for a gay or lesbian presidential candidate.
More than two-thirds of the people who responded to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (68 percent) said that they would be either comfortable with or enthusiastic about a gay or lesbian person running for president. That figure jumps to 75 percent when broken down to just the 18 to 34-year-old demographic. Even the senior citizens are fine with it! Fifty-six percent of 'em responded positively to the idea of an LG (i.e., lesbian and gay...not Lady Gaga, you gays) presidential candidate.
The poll, which surveyed 900 adults and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, then goes on to show how much American voters have changed in the last 13 years. In 2006, only 43 percent of respondents to a similar poll said that they'd be either comfortable with or enthusiastic about a gay or lesbian person running for president. No age demo, not even The Young People, had a majority-positive response.
Nobody who's been following Buttigieg, the gay Indiana mayor who launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, will be surprised by these results. Just yesterday, he announced that he'd raised more than $7 million in campaign donations, and he recently came in third in an Iowa caucus poll behind former Vice Pres. Joe Biden (who isn't running) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (who is).
Polls are one thing, but they don't always accurately reflect how reality will play out. (Remember the whole "Hillary's definitely gonna win" thing?) We simply won't know how comfortable Americans truly are with this gay presidential candidate until it comes time to vote. For his part, Buttigieg appears to be optimistic.
"I think there's only one way to find out," Buttigieg said in an ABC interview earlier this year. "[P]eople are prepared to get to know you and judge you based on the quality of your ideas and your experience and your work, and I trust that America could do that, too."