Voting Bigotry: Gallop

I just read this 2012 Gallop Poll of Voting Bigotry in the USA and decided to plot the data because it is very revealing.  The poll asked people a hypothetical question that *if* their party chose a well-qualified candidate would they automatically vote “NO” if they were Black, Female, Jewish, Atheist …. The first graph only includes the 2012 data so that you can clearly see the present biases in the USA.  Remember, this is people confessing their bigotry.


Above you can see the huge clear bias against Atheists.  This is not surprising because studies already show that Atheists are viewed with disgust by theists.  Besides the persistent bigotry against Atheists, I am equally concerned about the persistent hatred of Homosexuals. My graph below shows the same data in a historical context revealing the important advances of both Homosexuals, Blacks, Jews, and Women.  Atheists have made some advances too, but not nearly as much as those other groups.


I will put my thoughts on this data in the first comment. And I will use this data as support in my coming post: “The Priming Bias & Progressive Christians”. So please stay tuned.

Question to readers:  Please share your thoughts on this data.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

21 responses to “Voting Bigotry: Gallop

  1. Atheists can hide — we may have more atheist elected officials than we imagine. Same with Homosexuals. Hiding is a bad thing, but Blacks and Women can’t hide. But fortunately the bigotry numbers against Women and Blacks have dropped the most.

    I know this is not PC, but Muslim bias will not bother me until I hear a much louder voice for secular Islam fighting fundamentalists — heck, even liberal Islam would qualify as very fundamentalist and extreme by all sorts of scales — treatment of women and gays, to name a few.

    I think the repulsion against atheists is because of a deep unfounded moral bias. We have vocal atheist to thank for our small advance but even more, we have scientists to thank, whose research has crumbed huge parts of the theist god with advances in knowledge.

  2. TWF

    Thanks for sharing this data. It’s pretty interesting, even if not surprising. It’s always nice to put figures behind feelings. 🙂

    I am interested in the smaller fluctuations at the top of the chart too. Like I think it’s fascinating that black was lowest in auto-rejection. Given that this is during Obama’s term, it shows that the primary bias against him is not race related. We’ve come a long way! Hispanics scored slightly better than I expected too, and perhaps their extra rejection can be explained by xenophobia; rejection of Spanish culture and language.

    Seeing the anti-Mormon bias is funny, in a way. Although they are one of the most organized groups against homosexual rights, and so deserve some rejection, the rest of the largely Christian public rejects them for not being able to recognize that they are lead astray by the teachings of their church. But, obviously, their church is still better than no church at all to the masses! 🙂

  3. I don’t much care for this kind of polling.

    When I voted for Obama in 2008 and in 2012, I was not voting for a black. I was voting for Obama, and that he was black had no relevance.

    When I voted against Romney in 2012, I was not voting against a Mormon. I was voting against Romney.

  4. @ TWF: good points

    @ Neil Rickert: I am sorry, I did explain the poll properly. You comment inspired me to re-write the first paragraph. Perhaps now you can see that the poll addressed you objection. It was not asking how people voted, but how they WOULD vote — to confess their bigotry. Hope that helps and you can see the value of this poll.

  5. Okay, thanks for the changes.

    With the wording now, no I would not automatically vote “no” for any of those. I base my votes on the candidates position, and how I perceive their integrity and trustworthiness. No doubt a person’s cultural background has had some influence, but I won’t vote on the background, only on what I see in the candidate and in his/her campaigning.

  6. @ Neil,
    OK, that is you, of course. But what does this tell you other wise. You were surprised by any of the stats? Do they tell us anything helpful?

  7. @Sabio:

    But what does this tell you other wise.

    Not too much, actually. Most people are not paying close attention to election campaigns, so they vote on peripheral issues.

    I’m a member of several professional organizations, and I sometimes vote in their elections. For example, there’s an election coming up in the American Mathematical Society. If I vote, I usually vote on peripheral issues in these elections, because there is not enough readily available information to properly judge the candidates. In the case of the AMS, I feel an obligation to vote, even though I don’t have enough information to make an intelligent decision.

    It seems to me that in national elections, many people vote without having enough information, so peripheral issues like race and religion or party affiliation are what they have to go on.

  8. @ Neil,
    Yes, one of the many weaknesses of democracy — people.

  9. willbell123

    As saddening as the info on atheists is, Mormons surprises me the most,

  10. TWF

    I definitely like the way that you’ve reworded the first paragraph. It’s much more clear now.

  11. One thing that stand out for me here is the idea of permitted versus proscribed prejudice. Nowadays mainstream religious authorities in America discourage certain types of prejudice, particularly racism (or at least the overt expression of such) but permit or even encourage certain other types of prejudice against people they perceive as violating religious values, particularly gays and atheists. I think this also illustrates how strong the influence of religion is in America compared to other Western countries. In Australia we have had a number of atheist/agnostic prime ministers – until just recently our PM was a female atheist no less – and Iceland had a lesbian PM. Hopefully one day Americans will look down on prejudice against gays and atheists the same way they look down on other forms of prejudice. Admittedly, even Australia is still a bit behind the times on issues like gay marriage, largely due to the influence of religious lobbies on government, so we still have room for improvement.

  12. @ willbell123:
    Looking at you website, by now you are in Grade 10 – no? Are you are Fringe Fan, perhaps (William Bell)?
    If you are following, tell us more WHAT surprises you.

    @ TWF:
    Yeah, the original paragraph did not state anything false, but I did not make it clear what the study asked. The reader would have to read the article, and my graphs were meant to allow folks NOT to do that. So it was my bad. So Neil’s kind comments helped me see that. Thx to you both.

    @ Scott McGreal:
    I agree. In my kid’s lunchroom in their elementary school, the lunchroom supervisor jumped right in there and supported other kids making fun of my kid’s atheism. They got reported and hushed — but they still work there hating dirtly little atheists even worse, I am sure.

    Yes, hopefully the US will have a QUALIFIED out-of-the-closet Atheist or Gay president. Having a woman wouldn’t change opinions much at this point, as you can see. But I would hope no one would vote for a Gay or Atheist just to accomplish that end, though, like the Obama election, I am sure that would happen. For many atheists, when it comes to their key issues, are often as irrational as many theists.🙂

  13. @Sabio: I was surprised that the Mormons are facing so much bigotry still. Yep, just graduated from Grade 10.
    Not a Fringe fan, just didn’t get the chance to watch it while it was stilll running, I love scifi though, especially Doctor Who.

  14. Earnest

    One issue with this data may be that in 1958 respondants may have conflated Atheists with Communists, even if the candidate in question may have had a completely capitalistic life concept.

    There’s probably no data to report, but I propose that if we also tracked data for “drug addict 100% compliant with recovery program” we might see a similar pattern. I am glad we are making some progress in this country.

  15. Earnest

    @ Sabio good for you for pushing back against bigotry for your kids! Let me know if I can do anything to help you with that situation.

  16. How come the “sociopathic white Christian male” category was left out? No biases against them were found? 😉

  17. Thanks for the link, Luke:

    Interestingly, I’ve served the military for several years, was a teacher, a doctor (oriental medical one) and now a PA. Top of the perceived contributors — but being an atheist, that undoes all my good work for many Christians. For them, my good works are but dirty rags because I am hell bound.

    I’m guessing that Clergy’s rating is probably a blurring of a two main modal distributions:
    (A) old-time believers who rate their holy preachers at 60%
    (B) the majority who put them down at below Journalists 25%

    I forget if you read “Naked Pastor” but he has a great cartoon about the road that the clergy preach on and why a low rating is realistic.

    Look below that cartoon and you’ll see one of my daughter: Right Here).

    Now that I have replied to your comment, how about doing the same on your blog and reply to mine.

  18. Sorry, for some reason, my interpretation was lost. Here’s what I wrote:

    I don’t dismay at this standing, but want to show it to say that the tides are turning. If one were to survey my generation (the supposed millennial gen, 1980-present) I think you’d have clergy where the atheists are, and the atheists being very well thought of. Tides are turning and with good notion. Clergy attract many sociopaths. I read a study recently that my profession ranks 8th in there, right under cops. Strangely, chefs were in the top 3. Never would have thought that.

    Great drawing from your daughter! And from David. It’s weird being in the non-lemming preacher bunch. Often the outsider in my circles and so is my denom… not saying we’re (or me for that matter) are free of sociopaths or narcissism. But it does help explain why I prefer atheist company over my fellow clergy.

  19. Luke wrote: “Clergy attract many sociopaths.”

    Yes, sociopaths are attracted to professions and affinity groups where a virtuous public persona grants them trust and respect, and easy prey is abundant. Not only clergy; atheist groups are also attractive to individuals motivated by a desire for dominance and control.

    Would you please share the source of your info about ‘sociopathic’ professions?

  20. I saw it in a professional psychology journal (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), but can’t find the online source. The closest thing I came was this article which is totally not scholarly and they mixed up media and chef.

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