We can thank Ben Carson for opening people's eyes to this when he remarked that he wouldn't want a Muslim president who subscribed to the harsh language of Islam. While it might seem logical to assume most Americans would agree with Carson, there are exceptions, especially if the question is worded just right.
Susan Page and Paulina Firozi wrote this: A surprising number of Americans wouldn't vote for a Muslim to be president. Here's an excerpt:
In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, most of those surveyed don’t think it’s a realistic possibility, at least at the moment. By 53%-39%, they say a Muslim couldn’t be elected.
Even so, by 49%-40% they said they themselves would vote for a qualified Muslim.
What about other groundbreaking categories?
-By 53%-40%, they would vote for a qualified atheist. Notably, resistance to an atheist as president is as strong as resistance to a Muslim.
-By 93%-3%, they would vote for a qualified Catholic. The 2016 field includes several Catholics, among them Republicans Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio, and Democrat Martin O’Malley.
-By 95%-4%, they would vote for a qualified woman. That’s presumably good news for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina.
The nationwide poll of 1,000 likely voters, taken by phone from Thursday through Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The surprise is that anyone was surprised. Of course there's that word "qualified" in there. That's going to have a different meaning to different people.