New ad from gay-rights group: Republicans support gay marriage too, you know

Something new from the Respect for Marriage Coalition keyed to their splashy new poll about same-sex marriage. Want evidence of how much the phrasing of poll questions can influence the responses you get? Here you go:

Voters express strong support for the notion that the ability to marry the person you love is a fundamental freedom and Constitutional right for every American, including gays and lesbians. Three-quarters of voters (75%) believe that it is a Constitutional right, up from 71% in 2011. This sentiment spans across party lines, as 91% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 56% of Republican voters all believe the freedom to marry the person you love is a Constitutional right.

Fifty-six percent of Republicans now support gay marriage? Wow! Wait. No. Well, sort of. Here’s what Quinnipiac found in December when they asked the question more bluntly:


That result is more expected. In fact, according to the AP, just 21 of the 47 Republican legislators who’ve voted for gay marriage in the past three years are still in office.

In theory, the RFMC’s result is more germane to the gay-marriage debate than Quinnipiac’s. The Quinnipiac question could be interpreted by a respondent as a question about moral support; the RFMC is asking more specifically about legality. And yet, thus far, the results of state referenda more closely resemble Quinnipiac’s evenly divided topline number than the RFMC’s. There’s a messaging lesson in that for gay-marriage supporters: If you want to win over conservatives, speaking the language of the Constitution helps. Which, I assume, is what Ted Olson and David Boies are banking on if/when the Supreme Court rules in their favor on Prop 8. A constitutional ruling could soften pockets of resistance on the center-right; my hunch is that it’ll do the opposite if it ends up legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states in one fell swoop, but we’ll see. No doubt Anthony Kennedy is wrestling with that as we speak. (Interestingly, 70 percent of Republicans in the RFMC poll thought gay marriage would be legal within “the next couple of years,” whether or not they themselves support it.)

Here’s the ad followed by the longer clip of Cheney addressing gay marriage in 2009. If the RFMC is smart, they’ll do a separate ad devoted just to him; Laura Bush and Colin Powell will help with centrists, but only Cheney stands even the slightest chance of making a dent in opinion on the right. If anything, Powell’s inclusion here will firm up righty opposition. I’ll leave you with this provocative gauntlet-tossing from Ace, addressing the endless recent intraparty skirmishes:

I think a lot of people are in this party because it provides an intellectual and therefore socially acceptable basis for Judging and Scolding.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick to death of it. I’m sick of making excuses for it. I’m sick of pretending I don’t think it’s weird that people are still wigging out over the idea that some people are attracted to the same sex, and are still pushing some sort of “political” agenda about this, like we need a governmental fix to discourage homosexuality.

If we’re going to have a war of all against all, let’s have it, honestly.