Focus group commissioned by Pete Buttigieg’s campaign found ‘being gay was a barrier’ for black South Carolina voters
- Pete Buttigieg, 37, is America’s first openly gay Democrat presidential candidate
- Men and younger women were particularly resistant to his sexual orientation
- Voters said his homosexuality shouldn’t be ‘front and center’ of his campaign
- Some feared that Republicans could use his sexuality to discredit him
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexual orientation is ‘a barrier’ for black voters in South Carolina, a focus group has revealed.
Buttigieg, 37, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is the Democrat’s first ever openly gay presidential candidate.
‘Though not a disqualifier, being gay was a barrier for these voters, particularly men and younger women,’ the report stated.
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexual orientation is ‘a barrier’ for black voters in South Carolina, a focus group has revealed
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, right, and husband, Chasten Glezman, acknowledge supporters after speaking at a campaign event Thursday, May 9. Buttigieg married Glezman in June 2018
During the focus groups, a short biography of the Democrat presidential hopeful mentions that he lives with his husband, Chasten, who he married in June 2018.
The mention of his sexuality caused some of the respondents to ‘question why he had to even bring it up.’
The report from July drew together the answers from 24 90-minute conversations with ‘uncommitted African American likely primary voters’ in Columbia, South Carolina.
According to the report, his sexuality was a barrier ‘particularly’ for black men ‘who seemed deeply uncomfortable even discussing it.’
Across genders and ages, the report said: ‘their preference is for his sexuality not to be front and center.’
While some said it was not a problem for them personally, they feared Republicans would use it to undermine Buttigieg, a Democratic hopeful.
They also thought it could cause difficulties in interactions with some world leaders.
His campaign had previously attributed the low support in black communities to a problem with name recognition and has stepped up efforts in recent months.
A Democratic strategist based in South Carolina, Antjuan Seawright, told the Washington Post that he wasn’t surprised by the results.
‘Older African American voters have traditionally, particularly in the South, been on the conservative side of some aspects of their politics,’ Seawright said.
He added that he didn’t think there was any need for the Buttigieg campaign to use focus groups to ‘confirm what we already knew.’