It’s because they’re too good

I find this Pew survey to be pretty amusing in light of Pintopolis’s theory that atheists are unpopular because they are just so morally and ethically enviable:

In general, being a Mormon is viewed as far less of a liability for a presidential candidate than not believing in God or being a Muslim. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who does not believe in God, while 45% say they would be reluctant to vote for a Muslim. At the same time, more people express reservations about voting for a Mormon (25%) than about supporting a candidate who is an evangelical Christian (16%), a Jew (11%) or a Catholic (7%).

I note that the public distaste for atheist candidates has actually increased since the 1999 Gallup poll, in which 49 percent of Americans were open to voting for an atheist candidate. It’s also down from the 2007 Gallup poll, in which 45 percent were willing to do so. That’s more than a 20 percent drop in perceived acceptability in only eight years.

I doubt much, if any, of this can be attributed to the activities of the New Atheists, but it is consistent with my theory that the more outspoken they are, the less popular atheism will become.