Has the recent kerfuffle between Carrie Prejean and Perez Hilton changed the calculus on gay marriage? According to CNN’s new polling, not at all. Not only have gay-marriage advocates not made a dent in the last several months, another social-conservative demographic appears to have narrowed the gap between themselves and their opponents:
33. Do you think marriages between gay and lesbian couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages? (ASKED OF HALF SAMPLE. RESULTS BASED ON 1005 INTERVIEWS IN VERSION A. SAMPLING ERROR: +/- 3 PERCENTAGE POINTS.)
Apr. 23-26 Dec. 19-21
Should be recognized as valid 44% 44%
Should not be recognized as valid 54% 55%
No opinion 2% 1%
23a. With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?
Apr. 23-26 Aug. 29-31 June 22-24
2009 2008 2007
Pro-choice 49% 53% 50%
Pro-life 45% 44% 44%
Don’t know what the terms mean (vol.) 1% 2% 2%
Mixed/both/neither (vol.) 3% 2% 4%
No opinion 1% * 1%
It’s interesting, especially since the advocates of both positions insist that they’re making incremental progress. The gay-marriage issue has been mired in terms of the political split, but a solid majority continues to oppose it. That puts Carrie Prejean in the mainstream, not Perez Hilton and his allies, although at 44% one could hardly call the legalization position as fringe, either. Perez’ efforts to marginalize Prejean won’t work, not with 54% of people agreeing with Prejean — including Democrats like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, for that matter.
On abortion, though, the previous majority position for pro-choice has disappeared, and the CNN poll shows the matter a toss-up within the margin of error. The last time CNN asked that question, in 2006, pro-life did the best they had done in six years to get to a 53-42 minority position.
I’d assume that the White House has seen the exact same polling, which would explain why Obama retreated from FOCA last week in his 100 days press conference.