A growing body of research has examined how candidates’ religion or sexual orientation affect voting likelihood among the U.S. public. No systematic study, however, has focused on the combined effect of these traits. We draw on the intersectionality literature to develop and test hypotheses for this neglected, but important, combination. Results from an original survey experiment conducted in late June 2019 demonstrate that all respondents, as well as the Republican subgroup, tend to disapprove of a gay, religious candidate relative to other options (i.e., gay, nonreligious; straight, religious; and straight, nonreligious). Even Democrats expressed little support except when a straight, religious candidate was the alternative. Our findings underscore the need to study how overlapping—rather than discrete—traits influence political views and behaviors. They also raise important questions about the future of U.S. identity politics. Efforts to rally Republican and Democrat voters by mixing particular types of traits may not be a very effective strategy.
Beyerlein, K., & Klocek, J. (2020). How Do Religion and Sexual Orientation Affect Support for U.S. Presidential Candidates? Evidence from a Survey Experiment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 59(4), 551–568. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12690