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Is Pete Buttigieg a bellwether? America’s shifting attitudes on electing a gay president




Chasten Glezman (L) joins his husband South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on stage after Buttigieg announced that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for president during a rally in the old Studebaker car factory on April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.
Chasten Glezman (L) joins his husband South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on stage after Buttigieg announced that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for president during a rally in the old Studebaker car factory on April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

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In 2006, the majority of Americans were  either “very uncomfortable”, or had “reservations”, about a gay person running for president.

Then, only 43% of Americans said they would be OK with a gay person running for president -- but today 68% say they would be fine with a gay candidate. The number of people who say they would be “enthusiastic” about a gay president has gone up threefold since 2006, from 5% to 14%.

These finding come on the heels of the first high-profile gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg, an openly gay, 37-year-old former Naval office is growing in popularity. According to a new Emerson survey, Buttigieg is polling in third place among the 2020 democratic presidential candidates, behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden and ahead of big names like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Mayor Pete’s surging popularity follows the 2018 midterm elections’ “rainbow wave” when more LGBT candidates than ever before ran for office. Buttigieg has raised more than $7 million dollars for his presidential campaign. 

Can Mayor Pete’s growing support take him all the way to the White House? Have you seen the same rise in acceptance towards gay people in your community or life? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Sean Meloy, political director at the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a DC-based organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people at all levels of government

Don Haider-Markel, political science professor at the University of Kansas and author of “Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections and Policy Representation” (2010, Georgetown University Press)