By Paul Fidalgo
The conventional wisdom has long held that despite the constitutional guarantee of “no religious test” for public office, there could be no greater albatross for a would-be officeholder than to be identified as an atheist.
The data has borne this out for generations. As long as polling on this subject has been conducted, in almost every case, atheists have faced the greatest voter resistance.
While far too many Americans still tell pollsters they could never vote for someone who was gay, lesbian or Muslim, the bottom of this particular political barrel is almost always occupied by atheists.
But for all those nonbelievers who keep their hats on their heads rather than toss them into rings, a new Gallup Poll offers a glimmer of hope.
The percentage of Americans who would vote for a qualified atheist candidate for president has reached 58%, which is 4 points better than it was in 2012, and a whopping 40 point jump from when the question was first asked in 1958. In that year, a mere 18% of Americans could abide the idea of an atheist president.
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