Yes, national polling shows increased support for gay marriage, but what about in the swing states? Couldn’t culturally conservative swing voters make Obama’s support for gay marriage risky, since tiny shifts can loom large?
It’s a good question. But some new polling I’ve got from Pew and the Post team suggest Obama’s support for marriage equality will likely play the same way in the swing states as it will nationally — and could be a wash at best.
Pew released a poll yesterday finding that a majority of Americans, 52 percent, say Obama’s announcement will not affect their opinion of him. Only 25 percent say it will make them view him less favorably, and 19 percent say more.
Crucially, among independents, there’s no sign this stance is problematic: 60 percent say it doesn’t effect their opinion, and the “more” and “less” categories are even at 19 percent.
It turns out those numbers are almost identical in the swing states. I asked Pew for a breakdown of the numbers just in 15 core states — Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Among voters overall in those states, the numbers are: 51% say it didn’t affect their opinion; 27% say less favorably, 19% say more favorably.
Among independents in those states, the numbers are: 60%, 17%, and 19%.
The same pattern shows up in Post polling. A new Post poll today finds that voters nationally split on whether they favor Obama’s announcement, 46-46.
Among voters just in the above 15 states, I’m told, the split is almost identical, at 45-46; among indys in those states it’s 45-48.
Beyond this, there’s a broader question: Couldn’t overly adamant opposition to gay marriage damage the GOP over time? Demographic shifts are only trending gay marriage’s way, and such a posture could feed the sense that the GOP is hidebound, exclusionary, backward-looking, and unwilling to come to terms with where the country is headed in cultural terms. Josh Marshall has similar thoughts.
But even if you focus only on Obama and the issue itself, it’s unclear that his support for marriage equality is anything more than a wash — even in the swing states.