Despite differing forms of government and elections, the United States and Canada have always shared interesting similarities when it comes to leadership. In U.S. history, President Barack Obama was the first and only non-white man to be elected to the highest office in the land. And while Kim Campbell was the first and only woman to ever serve as prime minister of our neighbors to the north, there has been no racial diversity in the office. A new survey, however, suggests the future leadership of both the U.S. and Canada may be a whole lot more diverse—though not in the same ways.
In May, the Angus Reid Institute conducted a binational public opinion poll to determine what kinds of candidates people would vote for. There is near unanimous support among both Americans and Canadians in regards to a woman being elected president or prime minister, but there are significant differences in how participants from each country reacted to other scenarios.
According to the findings, Americans who “say they could vote for a presidential candidate who is” a woman 90 percent, Native American (89 percent), Jewish (83 percent), Hispanic (81 percent), or an evangelical Christian (72 percent).
By contrast, while 96 percent of Canadians “say they could vote for a party led by someone who is” a woman and 94 percent would support someone who is black, just 65 percent would be okay with an evangelical Christian. Interestingly, 80 percent of Canadian respondents said they could vote for an atheist, but the support was a mere 52 percent in America.
There is an even further divide when it comes to potential LGBT candidates. In Canada, around 85 percent said they would support a gay or lesbian leader and 69 percent would favor a transgender person. Meanwhile, in America, around 63 percent of respondents could see themselves voting for a gay man or lesbian and just 50 percent for a transgender.
In America, age and party affiliation played a large role in how people responded, with young voters and those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 favoring a wider range of candidates. In Canada, regional divides played a large role, especially as it related to the importance of religion and the ability to speak multiple languages.
Ultimately, while both Americans and Canadians believe their country will “definitely/probably” elect a woman leader in the next 25 years, the jury is out on many of the categories.
“The vast majority of respondents in both nations say they could vote for a national leader who is a woman,” the Institute notes, “but there are significant differences between countries on atheist and LGBTQ candidates.”
Check out the full findings HERE.