This graph of a long-running Gallup survey is pretty interesting. Of course, it’s a US audience, and I’d take a punt that the sample is more conservative than a New Zealand sample would be.
I’m quite surprised at how low atheists rate – especially given our last two Prime Ministers here have been non-religious, though never quick to admit it. Their willingness to vote for a black president has been very high since around 2000, and that barrier has now well and truly been broken. The other meteoric rise has been the willingness to elect a gay president. Unfortunately for Mitt, Mormons have pretty much flat-lined.
As I said, I think the situation in New Zealand would be pretty different. We’ve seen it recently with the Labour leadership contest. While both (all three?) leader candidates were middle-aged Pakeha males called David, the two deputy leader candidates were a different story. We had a female Maori, Nanaia Mahuta, and an out gay man, Grant Robertson.
None of the media outlets (that I saw, right wing blogs might be different) said that Nanaia and Grant were unsuitable for their jobs because of their identity and demographics. In fact, since Grant’s election to deputy, I think I’ve only seen his sexuality mentioned a handful of times, and only in passing.
We are a country where a provincial electorate elected Georginia Beyer (a transsexual) over Paul Henry (an angry redneck broadcaster). I think we can hold our heads up high and say we are doing pretty damn good.