The Washington Post

Poll Watchers: Gay marriage and Catholic Bishops; economics of unmarried living; Obama and the economy

• New York gay marriage postscript – New York’s recent passage of legislation legalizing same-sex marriage is being met with majority public support, reports a new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters in the state. The poll was in the field from June 20 to 26, spanning the date of the passage of the bill June 24. Some 54 percent of voters support the new law and 40 percent oppose, with no real change in opinion before or after the law’s passage.

There’s been vocal opposition to the new law from Catholic bishops in the state, but white Catholics in New York do not reject it, splitting 48 percent each in support and opposition. In fact, 70 percent of white Catholics say protestations of the law from religious leaders make no difference in their decision to support or reject it.

• Economics of living together – For better-educated Americans, marriage is no longer an essential for financial stability and success. The increasingly common practice of couples living together without being married finds an economic upside for those with higher education. Pew Social Trends analyzed Census data of adults age 30 to 44 to examine income and living patterns.

For the cohabitating crew, “greater economic well-being” is linked with college degrees but less so for those without a degree. By how much? Those living with a partner and with a college degree bring home about $5,000 more than a similarly educated married person. But a cohabiter without a degree does considerably worse than a married person without a degree; about $10,000 worse. Those with no live-in partner – married or not – are the worst off regardless of education.

• Obama and the economy – President Obama’s ratings have struggled in June largely due to a retrenchment in negative economic attitudes. A new McClatchy- Marist poll echoes recent results from Pew, AP and Bloomberg, showing just 37 percent of registered voters approving of Obama’s performance on the economy and 31 percent approving on the federal budget deficit. The one bit of less-bad economic news for Obama is the fact that by 2 to 1, more people think he inherited these economic problems rather than them being a result of his policies. But that may be thin soup for a president who is faced with 9 percent unemployment and a looming election.

Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.

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