Finally, an answer to the most important question of the 2016 election.
Kidding aside, though, this is a bit surprising.
The question of whether or not a candidate would attend the gay wedding of a loved one has become an increasingly common litmus test for candidates on the issue…
The poll showed 56 percent of Republicans would attend the gay wedding of a loved one if invited. That compares with 80 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents, who said they would go.
Overall, 68 percent of Americans would attend, the poll showed, while 19 percent would not and 13 percent were unsure…
Though a right-leaning, anti-marriage position may appeal to important conservative voters in states with early nominating contests such as Iowa and New Hampshire, that stand could hurt an eventual nominee in the general election, in which cross-party appeal and independents play a larger role.
Most polls show GOP support for legalizing gay marriage somewhere between 30 and 40 percent, so apparently there’s a chunk of 20 percent or so that would show up for a gay family member’s wedding even though they … don’t think it should be legally recognized. That’s an odd position but I think it may end up being the majority position of the Republican presidential field: Rubio, Rick Perry, and Jeb Bush all oppose legalizing SSM, last I checked, and all of them have said they’d attend a gay wedding if invited. (“Claro que si” said Jeb when asked yesterday in Puerto Rico.) In fact, Ted Cruz ducked the question when Hugh Hewitt put it to him instead of replying with a flat “no.” You can see why this stance might appeal to a socially conservative pol hoping to face the national electorate next November, though. Being anti-SSM but pro-attendance is a way in theory to show righties you’re on their side of the legal debate while showing swing voters you’re not the “hater” Democrats accuse you of being.
Surely these numbers shift, though, when you look specifically at Republican primary voters, right? It stands to reason that the GOPers most motivated to vote are more likely to be members of the base, which usually means they’re more conservative than Republicans generally. And as it turns out, the numbers do shift — but not as much as you might expect. Using Reuters’s nifty crosstabs tool to refine the data so that it shows only GOP primary voters, we find that 49 percent would attend versus just 35 percent who wouldn’t, suggesting that the Rubio/Bush/Perry position is a winner in the primaries too — at least if you’re competing for center-righties, as each of them is. Surprisingly, the numbers are even better among older (i.e. age 60 or over) Republicans, 56 percent of whom say they’d attend. Women are also noticeably more supportive of attending than men are, with just 51 percent of Republican men saying they’d attend versus 62 percent of Republican women. Among the broader population, 61 percent of men would attend versus 75 percent of women. Maybe that has less to do with women being more pro-gay than men than women being more pro-wedding? You tell me.
Exit question: Is the fact that this was an online poll, not a phone poll, significant?