Four years ago, the split was 49/51. Today it’s 50/43, although I think this poll’s less interesting for the change it shows over time than for the change it doesn’t show. Three months ago, WaPo asked this same question and got a 50/41 split. I thought the flurry of federal-court decisions recently giving gays the right to marry in states like Pennsylvania might trigger a backlash, if not to SSM itself than to SSM imposed by federal order, but today’s number is basically identical to the last one. Americans are not being sticklers in demanding that gay marriage be legalized through democratic processes instead of judicial ones.
Hard to say if the following is noise or a shift/backlash in the making, but it’s worth flagging. Bear in mind that partisan subsamples have larger margins of error than the overall sample. Here’s the result from March, when WaPo first asked whether the Equal Protection Clause does or doesn’t give gays the right to marry…
…versus the result from today:
Maybe the court decisions are boosting Democratic enthusiasm while giving some GOP/indie fencesitters pause. The overall stasis in opinion is preserved because the growing Democratic numbers are offset by the decline in the two other groups, but there’s every reason to believe that Democratic support for judge-backed SSM will continue to grow. And thus so will the overall number, unless that backlash on the right finally materializes. A SCOTUS ruling might do it, but if I had to bet, I’d bet that the net effect of a Supreme Court decision would be to further legitimize gay marriage in the eyes of undecideds rather than instigate a revolt against the Court for trumping state legislatures. We’ll see, probably within the next three years.
One other interesting tidbit from today’s data. You know how amnesty fans are forever insisting that Latinos are natural conservatives because they allegedly lean right on social issues? About that:
Part of that eye-popping 59 percent figure almost certainly is statistical noise caused by the larger subsample margin of error. Back in March, WaPo found the split among Latinos to be just 42/40. They didn’t go from narrow plurality to near-supermajority in three months, but that’s not to say the numbers didn’t grow a bit during that time. If you’re inclined to buy the “natural conservative” nonsense, do some googling on polls measuring Latino opinion on gay marriage. They’re in line with Democratic opinion generally. Go figure.
By the way, as of this afternoon, the last of the 50 states that had yet to face a court battle over its SSM ban is now being sued in federal court.