Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Probably a Wash

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.