General Question

jca's avatar

Will Obama's coming out in favor of gay marriage hurt his chance to get re-elected?

Asked by jca (27898 points ) May 14th, 2012

I heard today that religious leaders are reconsidering whether they support Obama because they’re all not necessarily supportive of his coming out in favor of gay marriage.

I know many on Fluther are in favor of gay marriage, as are a large part of the population, but there are also many people who are not. The nation is divided over the issue.

Do you think Obama’s support of gay marriage will hurt his chance for re-election?

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45 Answers

chyna's avatar

Maybe if he had a more formidable opponent, but since he doesn’t, it shouldn’t hurt his chances.

rebbel's avatar

I am not American, so I don’t have a clear view on who (Democrats/Republicans) has what kind of opinion (in general), but I have a slight inkling that a lot/most of Obama supporters are in favor of same sex marriage to begin with.
So I don’t think that there will be a lot to win (or lose) for him.
Maybe some people will admire him for not (no longer) beat around the bush, and cast their votes for him?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Those opposed to gay marriage seem to be more likely to vote than those that support it. I believe it could cost him some votes, but not nearly as much as $5.00 a gallon gas would.

Gay marriage bans have passed by overwhelming majorities everywhere they have been voted on, even California.

sinscriven's avatar

The kind of person that would react negatively to his GLBT support isn’t the kind of person that would have voted for him anyway.

However, this has the possibility of reinvigorating support from the socially liberal base he already has that may have grown disillusioned with his lukewarm centrism.

filmfann's avatar

It will not change anyone’s position.
It will, however, change peoples excitement about this election. Many people who may not have voted will make sure they do, now.
That will help Romney more than Obama. Many Republicans were considering sitting this election out because they dislike Romney so much.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think it’s that important an issue. This election will be a referendum on the economy, as just about all elections are. This is just one issue among many and I don’t think it’s going to turn the election.

ragingloli's avatar

@filmfann
Yeah, they usually crawl out of the woodworks to deny a minority’s equal rights.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t think it will be any great help, but the people who see maintaining marriage inequality as so important they would let it change their mind were not going to vote for any Democrat anyway. And it might energize those that support marriage equality enough to essentially cancel any effect this single issue has.

jerv's avatar

Not really. Most of the people who are against gay marriage are already against Obama.

DrBill's avatar

what he gains in Gay votes, he will loose in Christian votes.

Cruiser's avatar

I think it will hurt his chances in that he has exhausted 3 plus years tap dancing on this issue while playing it safe. To come out now after 3 plus years with little to show on the gay rights platform is disingenuous at best and appears to be pandering for votes at its worst. Anyone sitting on the fence will now gravitate towards their comfort zone on this issue and at last tally the majority of Americans were dead set against this gay marriage issue.

Plus Mitt can clearly demonstrate that Barack was championing gay rights while ignoring the very real issue of the still tanking economy which is affecting 100% of Americans. Obama will not have solid footing in coming back against that one at all.

@jerv If that was the case Obama should not have been elected as the majority of Americans then and now are against gay marriage.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Cruiser No they’re not. Marriage bans do pass, but this is increasingly not in step with the actual majority of American sentiment.

Cruiser's avatar

@BhacSsylan Your first link is on same sex unions…BIG difference over same sex marriages.
Second link shows 51% are still against same sex marriages being “legal”!
and your 3rd link shows a Gallup poll taken the day after Baracks coming out party and hardly a convincing stat to take to the bank.

Today many have cooled their heels….
-“A Gallup poll last week showed that 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, but a CBS News/New York Times poll out today shows that only 38 percent support it.“_

bolwerk's avatar

There have been at least some polls where more people broke in favor of marriage equality than not. And that support is growing; it’s telling that one southern state (Maryland) already has it. But, most likely, opponents have their power amplified by at least two forces:

(1) there are more bigot states than tolerant states, which amplifies bigots’ say in national elections. Also, the gay community is unavoidably a small part of the population – there can only be so many exclusively gay people, almost certainly always a minority – and they are largely only politically powerful in a few large coastal cities.

(2) The opposition is the most passionate. Severely bigoted straight opponents, I mean the crowd that thinks Santorum makes sense, may actually outnumber homosexuals, and straights who are for it aren’t exactly going to be passionate about it. OTOH, the freaky authoritarianism of the Perry/Santorum crowd may be a bigger turnoff for milquetoast straights than the thought of gay marriage, even if the milquetoasts are not passionately against, or don’t care.

I’m not very sure it will, but I could see this hurting Obama politically in a place he needs to win, like North Carolina, even though it is apparently helping him financially right now.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser What @bolwerk says is true. You can get a public poll to break 10 points either way by how you phrase the question. It goes to the old wisdom that, “Statistics never lie, but a lot of liars are statisticians.” We won’t really know till the general election numbers come in. There, clever wording is not allowed and the voters, despite electineering efforts, will have their say.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Cruiser No, the first shows that now, the majority favor same-sex marriage, 38% to 33% against.

The second is much higher:

“INSKEEP: And now there are more people in your polling who say that they approve of gay marriage than disapprove.

KOHUT: By a slight margin, 47 to 43, and their other polls that have an even bigger…”

And the third link had one take before the announcement, had you read a sentence farther: “A May 8 Gallup Poll showed plurality support for same-sex marriage nationwide, with 50% in favor and 48% opposed.[15]” as well as more below that:

“A March 7–10 ABC News/Washington Post poll found 52% of adults thought it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, while 42% disagreed and 5% were unsure.[17] A March survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found 52% of Americans supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44% opposed.[18]

A February 29 – March 3 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 49% of adults supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 40% opposed.[19]”

BhacSsylan's avatar

And I can’t edit anymore, but I will say that some of those show a plurality, not a majority (i get those mixed up sometimes). However, a plurality is still enough to elect a president, so that debunks your point there, and the fact that in all those polls they have a major plurality shows that what you said to begin with, which is what i was responding to: “the majority of Americans then and now are against gay marriage” is dead, dead wrong.

Also, what your link also shows, is that when given a strict choice between the two (of which this election will be), the majority sides with equality.

[edit] Final edit, to be clear, I don’t think this will be an absolutely deciding factor (a single factor rarely is). By that last sentence I just mean that this election will feature a choice between strict pro- and anti-gay marriage positions. Though Mittens will probably take a while to actually show a backbone and take a real stance in person.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@BhacSsylan yet when the poll counts the most, the vote is heavily against same sex marriage.

I don’t see this helping Obama. He will pick up votes in states he is expected to win easily while losing more votes than he gains in the swing states he needs to get elected. Unless he was just shaking the money tree to get the LGBT community to support him financially as they did in 2008.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@BhacSsylan As I said, it is true that they pass. But it isn’t true that it’s indicative of the majority of American sentiment. As blowerk said, the opposition is way more passionate, for reasons I can’t even pretend to understand, on either side.

Cruiser's avatar

@BhacSsylan and you point is???? Higher yet still in the minority numbers do not win elections!! 38% for anything is a guaranteed concession speech!

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Cruiser My point is you’re wrong. A majority do not oppose gay marriage. I am not going to give a real opinion on this question now, because I have not a clue how it will actually play out. But your statement was dead wrong, and I had to set the record straight.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat That’s when it is on the ballot as a ballot initiative. It’s almost or entirely a single issue election. And what that vote measures is the vehemence of the hate the bigots of America still hold in their God-is-love hearts. You would have gotten the same result if interracial marriage or voting rights for blacks had been put on the ballot as a state ballot initiative. You get a low turnout election where those that are fired up about the issue are the preponderance of those who turn out.

Cruiser's avatar

@BhacSsylan Since you said “I am not going to give a real opinion on this question now, because I have not a clue how it will actually play out. But your statement was dead wrong, and I had to set the record straight” I will take that statement as you have run out of facts to support you points and your arms have given out for any more hand waving tonight.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Actually, I generally act the same way when I no longer feel like talking to the wall. Face it, nobody here is going to change their opinion.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Cruiser Um, what? Prove me wrong. I showed up to say that your direct statement “the majority of Americans then and now are against gay marriage” is wrong. I have proved that, and you have had nothing to say other then to pretend to not understand, so I’m sure not the one hand waving. I don’t know how this will play out for Obama, because it’s one of many issues, and one where he is on the right side of the popular opinion but on the wrong side of bigoted vehemence, and I don’t pretend to know who will win. But your statement was absolutely dead wrong, and that’s what I set out to show.

If you have anything other then a poll that doesn’t prove your point to show me, go ahead and show me. But so far you’ve had nothing to actually prove your assertion.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s the economy that all of us are wanting work on. Somehow the gay marriage thing seems trivial just now. Even gays need jobs. This new thing of his seems rather panderish.if thats not a word, sorry.

Cruiser's avatar

Um… @BhacSsylan sigh…I did provide a very recent poll (more recent than yours) that showed a majority people are not as enthusiastic as you are about gay marriage and the last thing I desire is to dissuade you or anyone from your/their gay marriage goals.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Cruiser that is not what you said to start, or what I was asserting was incorrect. You cited a poll saying that the plurality still supports it, and that the majority support when given a strict choice. No where does it show the majority oppose it. Give it up.

Cruiser's avatar

HOLY SHIT @BhacSsylan Are you NOT paying attention?? Go waste someone else’s time PLEASE….halfway up the page I posted…
Today many have cooled their heels….
-“A Gallup poll last week showed that 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, but a CBS News/New York Times poll out today shows that only 38 percent support it.“_

BhacSsylan's avatar

edit edit No. You can’t read. That does not show that the majority oppose. 38% unequivoquly for does not show a majority oppose, it shows a plurality for. If a majority opposed, you’d see polls that show, when given a strict choice, a majority going against. This is not the case in every single poll taken this year. You are wrong

woodcutter's avatar

51% is a majority no matter what we are speaking of.

BhacSsylan's avatar

And I’d also like to understand how you think you’re one poll somehow shows ‘A majority oppose’, when only 33% oppose, while all these from my link:

“A May 8 Gallup Poll showed plurality support for same-sex marriage nationwide, with 50% in favor and 48% opposed.[15]” as well as more below that:

“A March 7–10 ABC News/Washington Post poll found 52% of adults thought it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, while 42% disagreed and 5% were unsure.[17] A March survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found 52% of Americans supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44% opposed.[18]

A February 29 – March 3 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 49% of adults supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 40% opposed.[19]”

Somehow don’t show that a majority do not oppose. In every case it is lower then 50%, and lower overall.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser & @woodcutter You guys are totally loosing the debate with @BhacSsylan on its merits, and you can’t even tell it. That says something profound.

Roby's avatar

We can only hope so.

Cruiser's avatar

HEY! Majority THIS!
“However, voters in more than 30 states have passed measures banning such unions, most recently those in North Carolina last week. ”
“Just 32 percent said the federal government should determine whether same-sex marriage is legal, rather than leaving it to the states.”

Look…polls are polls and at this stage it is too early to tell but the thoughts and sentiments that are growing over this issue are impossible to ignore people see through his disingenuous move….
“Sixty-seven percent said they thought Obama’s announcement was made “mostly for political reasons,”
And
”“You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history and I do not support your run for president any longer,” wrote Bill White, the chairman and CEO of a New York-based consulting firm, in a letter obtained by CNN.”
The voters have spoken out on this and THAT is what matters in politics!

sinscriven's avatar

@Cruiser : That quote you are trying to pass off as criticism for Obama’s position is flat out wrong. Bill White is a gay guy who supported Romney for his financial politics before Romney’s little anti-gay bit. Now he wants Romney to give him his money back.

(Source)

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser I explained the discrepancy between the success of ballot initiatives and polling data here when @WestRiverrat brought it up.

ragingloli's avatar

as they say, evil wins when good people do nothing

jerv's avatar

@ragingloli “Evil will always triumph over Good, because Good is stupid.” – Spaceballs

jerv's avatar

I figure that this plus the phrase “Margin of error” makes any and all claims of a majority opposing gay marriage invalid.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Holy shit are you disingenuous, @Cruiser. Trying to pass off Bill White’s direct message TO ROMNEY as criticism of Obama? Really? Wow. That’s just freaking amazing. Any tiny bit of credibility you had just evaporated.

also, lol “Polls are polls.. oh, by my polls are totally the best… because i said so!”

BhacSsylan's avatar

And, of course, I’d like to know how anything that you’ve linked to or (truthfully) reported contradicts anything I have said, @Cruiser. All you have is that marriage bans pass, something I admitted in my very first answer, and… that’s it. Which is easily understood for the reasons that @bolwerk and @ETpro have already mentioned. So, yeah. The fact that people think Obama’s announcement was politically motivated does nothing to undermine what I’ve said (I’d even agree, the timing obviously had to do with Biden’s earlier comment putting him under pressure. Doesn’t mean they or I don’t think he’s sincere).

Why am I even attempting a conversation anymore is the better question, though. Does anyone want a drink? I could use a drink. I know a place with great margaritas.

bolwerk's avatar

It comes from a self-identified conservative who is prone to some pretty serious intellectual backbending, but this talked about the so-called “riddle” of gay marriage polling today.

It kind of supports my take on it: that the more used to the idea people get, the less they care. The passionate ones are automatically going to have a personal stake in it, and sadly homophobia is often the stake.

mattbrowne's avatar

No, because most people who strongly oppose gay marriage wouldn’t vote for him anyway. But a lot of undecided voters might now favor him.

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