Philobiblon: Could the US elect a female president?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Could the US elect a female president?

An unusually nuanced and intelligent discussion of the whole issue and its history (not just about Hillary), from USA Today.

"[In 1937] two-thirds of Americans said they wouldn't vote for a woman for president. By the 1950s, a narrow majority said they would. In 1984, when Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale chose Ferraro as his running mate, the public by more than 4-to-1 said they would vote for a woman.

The trend toward increasing acceptance had stalled by 1987, though. For the past two decades, views have stayed about the same, [but]...

Some of the 86% who said they would vote for a woman probably didn't mean it, says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Poll at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Those surveyed "feel some social pressure to say the 'acceptable' response," he says, and may want to reflect the nation's aspirations as a land of opportunity.

The 34% who said "most of my neighbors" wouldn't vote for a female president may have given a more candid measure of the public's views."
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