Gallup: “Despite tidal shifts over the past 60 years in Americans’ willingness to support a well-qualified black, female, Catholic or Jewish candidate for president to the point that these are now widely accepted, significant segments of Americans still don’t endorse candidates who are gay or lesbian, evangelical Christian, Muslim, atheist or socialist. No more than three in four Americans say they would vote for candidates from any of these backgrounds. However, that support differs sharply by Americans’ religious affiliation.”
There is still a broad gulf between attitudes and outcomes. In the decades since Kennedy served, an uninterrupted string of white Protestant males inhabited the White House until the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The chances that an avowed atheist, or a socialist like Bernie Sanders, would be victorious in the general election would depend on not only overcoming broad public disapproval of his or her beliefs, but jumping ahead of more mainstream diverse candidates.