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Poll: Most don't want their children to become politicians

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM
By a 2-to-1 margin, most Americans would rather not see their children grow up to be politicians, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

Overall, 64 percent would not want their child to enter politics, and 31 percent say they would. These percentages were consistent whether asked about a "child," "son" or "daughter."

These numbers are consistent with past years, even as confidence in Congress and political institutions are at all-time lows.

The largest demographic differences among subgroups are by race, with nonwhites much more likely than whites to say they would like to see their son or daughter go into politics.

Gallup found the same racial difference when the question was asked in the 1990s when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were president, showing the rate of racial minorities aspiring for political representation was not significantly affected by President Obama's election.

People also answer differently based on whether they are asked first about a son or daughter.

When asked first about a daughter going into politics, 37 percent say they would like to see their daughter go into politics. But 37 percent also said they would like to see their son go into politics when asked as a followup question.

In contrast, when asked first about a son going into politics, there was a 12-point drop, to 25 percent. The percentage wanting their daughter to go into politics also fell, to 26 percent when asked second.

Researchers suggest Americans interpret the question as one about gender equality when asked about a daughter first, making them more likely to favor a political career for daughters and sons both. Asked about a son first, Americans likely interpret the question as about the general desirability of a political career, and are less likely to favor it for either a son or daughter.

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