Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Probably a Wash

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

A couple of days ago Gallup surveyed the U.S. citizenry about President Obama’s decision to come out in favor of same-sex marriage. In their poll, a larger number said it would make them less likely to vote for Obama than more likely.

Robert Wright is skeptical, largely because he doesn’t believe that 52% of Republicans are truly less likely to vote for Obama now. “Do you really think that 52 percent of Republicans had a greater than zero percent chance of voting for Obama in the first place? Me either. And if the chances of your voting for Obama are zero, how can his position on gay marriage reduce them?”

Fair point! But I’m skeptical — or maybe puzzled is a better word — for a different reason. Take a look at the two Gallup polls on the right and zero in solely on independents. Independents, by a pretty wide margin, think same-sex marriage should be legal. And yet, independents, again by a fairly wide margin, say they’re less likely to vote for Obama because he now thinks same-sex marriage should be legal.

This isn’t an impossible result. If the anti-marriage forces feel much more strongly than the pro-marriage forces, you could get this result. But their intensity would have to be a lot higher. If you take these numbers seriously, 57% of the antis are unhappy enough to be less likely to vote for Obama while only 19% of the pros are happy enough to be more likely to vote for him.

Again, not impossible. Maybe there really is an intensity gap that big. Or maybe most of the pros never believed in Obama’s “evolution” in the first place while lots of the antis did. Who knows? But it’s an odd result.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate