We're used to polling that tries to figure out what Americans want to see in a president or, more simply, which possible presidents Americans find most appealing. In a new survey published on Monday, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal asked people the opposite question: What traits would make them nervous about a presidential candidate?
More specifically, the pollsters listed a number of characteristics of possible candidates and asked if the voter would be enthusiastic, comfortable, reserved or very uncomfortable about a candidate having that trait. Like a black candidate, for example: 86 percent of people said they'd be enthusiastic about or comfortable with such a candidate; 13 percent would have reservations or be very uncomfortable.
We pulled out the latter two categories and ranked them from least- to most-off-putting. And then, to stir the pot, we listed the likely 2016 candidates to whom the characteristics apply.
(Candidates in italics are ones who no longer hold the position indicated.)
Let's just jump to the bottom of the list. The things people are least comfortable with are people with no experience in elected office (which applies to Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina) or have no college degree (which applies to Scott Walker). Well, also if someone is a "leader in the Tea Party movement" -- the trait that makes the most people very uncomfortable -- but that's somewhat subjective. (We granted Ted Cruz the title, which we assume he'd accept.) Many of the candidates share many of the less popular characteristics, you'll note, suggesting that this is to some extent a wash.
It's also important to note that this survey was conducted with members of both parties. So the low score for, say, evangelical Christians might not be as low among Republican primary voters.
Does this tell us who will win in 2016? Yes. As soon as a young black female veteran jumps into the race, she's a lock.