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Support a gay president? Almost 70% of Americans say yes

Gay President Pete Buttigieg

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg shakes hands a recent appearance in South Carolina. Photo: Twitter.

An overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of a gay or lesbian presidential candidate, according to a poll, which might benefit South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who identifies as gay and has launched an exploratory committee on a possible White House run in 2020.

Buttigieg’s popularity has grown in recent weeks, and the 37-year-old has said he is close to making a decision on whether he will run in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was first published in March, shows that Americans’ attitudes toward a gay or lesbian presidential candidate have changed drastically in the past 10 years.

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2019 survey findings

  • 54% of Americans said they would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian person running for president
  • 14% said that they would be “enthusiastic” about a gay or lesbian candidate

Those numbers are a stark contrast from a similar poll conducted in 2006.

More than 50% of Americans either had “reservations” about or were “very uncomfortable” with a gay person running for president

A combined 43% of American voters said they were either “comfortable” with or “enthusiastic” about a gay or lesbian person running for president

Gay president support

The 2019 survey shows that multiple age groups have shifted their thinking on the question.

  • 75 % of American voters under 35 say they would be enthusiastic or comfortable with a gay presidential candidate, compared to 47% in 2016
  • 56% of voters 65 and older are either “enthusiastic” about or “comfortable” with the possibility, compared to 31% in 2006

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Buttigieg gains popularity

Since launching his exploratory committee, Buttigieg has emerged as a popular figure. During a series of cross-country promotional trips and media appearances, the Buttigieg has talked opening about his Christian faith, abandoning the Electoral College for presidential elections,

Buttigieg has emerged as a popular figure in the months since launching his exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run. The 37-year-old has called for numerous progressive reforms, including abandoning the Electoral College for presidential elections.

Buttigieg raises $7 million

Buttigieg announced earlier in the week that he raised more than $7 million in the first quarter of this year.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted between February 24 and 27 and surveyed 900 adults. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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