When Americans think about the candidates they support, they assign far more importance to shared political beliefs than to other shared characteristics such as religion, racial and ethnic background, and gender.

A horizontal stacked bar chart showing that Americans place more importance on candidates having similar political views to their own than on sharing other characteristics.

However, the importance placed on these other characteristics varies substantially across demographic groups, according to a July Pew Research Center survey.

Overall, 66% of U.S. adults say it is extremely or very important that candidates share their views on political issues. And majorities across nearly all demographic and political groups view this as extremely or very important.

By contrast, no more than a quarter of Americans say it’s extremely or very important that candidates share each of the other five characteristics asked about in the survey: living in a community like theirs, sharing their religious values, coming from a similar economic background, sharing their racial or ethnic background, and sharing their gender. In fact, just 39% of Americans consider sharing any of these characteristics to be extremely or very important in candidates they support.

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