New York residents are less hesitant to vote for a Muslim or Mormon presidential candidate than either an atheist or a born-again Christian, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, found that 30 percent of voters said they are less likely to vote for an atheist, while 27 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a born-again Christian. On the other hand, 24 percent are less likely to vote for a Mormon, while 19 percent are less likely to vote for a Muslim.
"In our measure of prejudice, only the two ends of the religious spectrum - atheists and born-again Christians - draw significant negatives," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The results are in response to a question asking whether the religion of a candidate would be an issue or not for voters. On average, about 61 percent of voters said that the religious position of a presidential candidate would not sway their decision.
New Yorkers were also more open when considering other factors, such as body image and gender – only 16 percent said they are less likely to vote for an overweight candidate, and 14 percent are less likely to vote for a woman.
Gay and lesbians enjoyed the most welcoming views in New York, with only 10 percent of respondents saying that sexual preference would be a deciding factor for them.
"In every case except a woman candidate, no more than 10 percent of New Yorkers say they are more likely to vote for someone because of religion or other characteristics, and in every case, more than 60 percent say it doesn't matter," Carroll added.
Among other questions, the Quinnipiac University poll also looked at how New Yorkers felt about the recent Chick-fil-A controversy. The CEO of the fast-food restaurant recently expressed his personal support for the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, causing a number of cities in America to threaten to block Chick-fil-A operating in their areas.
Eighty-two percent of respondents said that the restaurant should be allowed to get government permits to do business. Eighty-three percent also said that elected officials should not try to discourage people from patronizing such a business.
"New Yorkers may disagree with what you say, but they defend your right to sell chicken," Carroll said.