Poll: Opposition to gay marriage drops to new low after Obama's announcement

Does The One still have this sort of influence even among his base? C’mon. I know he’s “the Lightbringer” or whatever, but no one’s morals are changing overnight just because Obama finally mustered the meager political courage needed to drop his ancient charade on SSM.

Or are they?

Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-nine percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal.

The poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter. Though statistically significant, it is a tentative result because of the relatively small sample of black voters in the poll…

Schubert was deeply skeptical that support for same-sex marriage was increasing among African Americans.

“There is not a chance in God’s green earth that African Americans support same-sex marriage,” he said, drawing from his experience organizing anti-same-sex marriage campaigns in California, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina. The president’s endorsement has likely “created a lot of angst and conflict in that community, but his opinion of same-sex marriage is not going to be changing the opinion of African Americans in a significant way.”

Is there really no chance that black voters are shifting on this? When WaPo polled the gay-marriage issue in isolation last week, they found that 54 percent of blacks supported O’s announcement versus 37 percent who disapproved — although, as in today’s poll, because of the small sample the margin of error was enormous. Separately, PPP polled North Carolina and found a seven-point trend in favor of SSM among black residents, from 20 percent before the recent referendum to ban gay marriage in the state to 27 percent after Obama spoke up. With O polling between 90 and 95 percent among that demographic, go figure that a dramatic policy change of heart might move some votes on the issue. Maybe that’s where the sudden national boost in favor of SSM is coming from.

The problem with that theory, though, is that we have a sample skew here. Back in March, WaPo found the split on SSM to be 52/43; the sample for that poll was 31D/27R/36I. This month the split is 53/39 based on a sample of 32D/22R/38I. When you go from a four-point tilt towards Democrats to a 10-point tilt, don’t be surprised if the support you see for legalizing gay marriage moves accordingly. Could be, though, that a little of both is happening — WaPo oversampled Dems and yet there’s real movement among blacks towards the liberal position on this. We won’t know for sure until the next state referendum but it’s worth flagging this data now for reference later.

Exit question: Given the Democratic skew, is the narrowness of this margin worth anything? Looks similar to the narrow margin in last night’s WSJ poll, but of course that poll had a teetering sample too.

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David Strom 10:01 AM on February 04, 2023