Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Anything but atheist aka, the silent Asians

Atheism comes in dead last as a quality that voters would want in a presidential candidate. In the poll, voters would be twice as likely to vote for a Catholic, African American, or Jewish candidate for President than an atheist. It's the only category where a majority of voters say the would NOT for for them based on that quality.

Whereas 94% of people polled claim that they would be willing to vote for a black candidate, only 88% would vote for a woman (poor Hillary.). And Hispanic candidates have less luck, with 87% willing to vote a Latino into the White House (poor Richardson.)

Gallup poll:
If your party nominated a well-qualified Candidate For WH '08 who was _, would you vote for that person?

Yes No
Catholic 95% 4%
Black 94 5
Jewish 92 7
A woman 88 11
Hispanic 87 12
Mormon 72 24
Married for third time 67 30
72 years old 57 42
A homosexual 55 43
An atheist 45 53

Noticeably, the poll doesn't include Asian American, since it seems not to have crossed anyone's mind at Gallup that this is a possibility. One day, someday, we'll have a candidate to call our own. (Obama personifies the immigrant dream, the immigrant experience, and even grew up in the APIA-dense state of Hawaii but he isn't officially of the tribe.) They might be hapa, or really friggin' wealthy as most candidates have to be nowadays, and they might even have their own brand of star power. Keanu Reeves '12 anyone? Until then, we don't even get to find out if we poll worse than atheists (though something tells me that we probably would do about as poorly.) Then again, the Committee of 100's poll in 2001 at a recent peak of anti-Asian sentiment said that 23% of Americans are uncomfortable voting for an Asian American president:

23% of Americans are uncomfortable voting for an Asian American to be President of the United States. This is in contrast to 15% compared with an African American candidate, 14% compared with a woman candidate and 11% compared with a Jewish candidate.

It's interesting to see what numbers have changed, although obviously Gallup and C100 use different methodologies. So who knows, maybe there's chance. Right now the best contenders in terms of respectability and prominence are former Wash State Gov. Gary Locke and ex-Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta. But who knows if they'd want to be in that type of constant stress all the time. So are you going to be the one to break that ceiling?

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