Americans think the country is more ready to elect a woman as president rather than a black person, a recent poll has shown.
The candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have brought up the question of electability based on race and gender to the forefront in the ongoing presidential election campaign.
The latest nationwide New York Times-CBS News poll posed the question to Democratic primary voters. Of those surveyed, 65 per cent said the country was ready for a woman president. Slightly more men than women think so.
The survey showed that 93 per cent would vote for a woman candidate, but believed only 66 percent of the people they knew would do so.
Many Democratic voters perceive real obstacles to electing a black president. Just 54 percent think the country is ready for that. White voters (58 percent) are more likely than black voters (48 percent) to think the country is ready to elect a black president.
When it comes to voting for a black candidate, 94 percent of the respondents said they would do so, but felt only 71 percent of the people they knew would.
Thus, while a majority of voters themselves say they would vote for a woman or a black for president, they are sceptical about others doing the same or about whether the country is ready for either.
The poll's findings are based on a national telephone survey conducted Jan 9-12 with 1,061 registered voters.
The same poll found Clinton the favourite of 42 percent voters, compared with 27 percent backing Obama.
In another poll conducted by Washington Post-ABC, however, Obama fares better with 37 percent backing among Democrat voters compared to 42 percent for Clinton.
Obama's support was up 14 percentage points from a month ago while Clinton's is down by 11 percentage points.