The Presidency: Past Drug Use Would Disqualify Nominee for Only 19% of Americans, Poll Finds

Only 17% of Democratic voters and 22% of Republican voters would refuse to vote for a presidential candidate who has admitted to past drug use, a Gallup poll has found. Overall, only 19% of voters would reject a candidate because he smoked a bowl or snorted a line in the distant past, the survey found.

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It didn't stop Bill Clinton from getting elected.
The poll, conducted late last month, asked more than 1,000 respondents what qualities they were seeking in the next president. Concern about candidates' past drug use ranked only 13th out of 16 questions about candidates' qualities, scoring higher than only "attends religious services regularly" (18%), "has worked in Washington a long time" (10%), and "has served in the military" (7%).

Potential voters were much more concerned that candidates are strong leaders (77%), have good moral character (68%), are effective managers (63%), can unite the country (59%), and are consistent on the issues (47%).

That's good news for Democratic contender Barack Obama, who has publicly admitted to past drug use. The news isn't so good for possible Republican contender Newt Gingrich, who recently admitted to carrying on extramarital affairs. Being faithful to one's spouse is considered absolutely essential by 37% of potential voters, including 52% of Republican voters.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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