NEW YORK (JTA) – Being an evangelical Christian candidate for president is twice as great a liability as being a Jewish candidate, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center survey on faith in the 2016 presidential campaign found that only a small percentage of Americans are less likely to vote for a presidential candidate because he is Jewish, but half of all respondents said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who doesn’t believe in God.
Eighty percent of respondents said a candidate being Jewish makes them no more or less likely to vote for him. Ten percent said they were less likely to vote for a Jew for president, and 8 percent said they were more likely.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, is the only Jewish candidate currently in the 2016 presidential race.
By contrast, twice as many respondents – 20 percent – said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is an evangelical Christian. Some 22 percent said they would be more likely to vote for such a candidate.
Among the other traits the poll found as liabilities for presidential candidates: being Muslim (42 percent said they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate), having personal financial troubles (41 percent less likely), had an extramarital affair (37 percent less likely), has longtime Washington experience (31 percent less likely), is gay or lesbian (26 percent less likely).
While 51 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for an atheist for president, the number is down from 63 percent in 2007.
On the Jewish question, among Republicans and those leaning Republican, 10 percent said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who is Jewish, 7 percent said less likely, and 81 percent said it made no difference. Among Democrats and those leaning Democratic, 5 percent said they were more likely to vote for a Jewish candidate, 10 percent said they were less likely, and 84 percent said it made no difference.
The telephone poll of 2,009 American adults was conducted Jan. 7-14 and had a margin of error of plus/minus 2.5 percentage points.