Gay marriage is not a campaign subject either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney really needed, and it could present difficulties for both candidates as the election nears.
Like President Obama, Americans are “evolving” in the direction of greater tolerance. But the number is actually down slightly from last year – 50 percent today compared with 53 percent a year ago, according to Gallup. And in several important swing states that Obama won by slim margins in 2008, strong majorities have voted to ban same-sex marriages in state referendums. (North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio come to mind.)
Since older, more conservative voters are more likely to show up at the polls on Election Day, Obama will need to reenergize the younger voters who propelled him to victory last time.
The latest poll on the subject may be better news for Mr. Romney than it is for Obama.
But while 13 percent say Obama’s shift will make them more likely to vote for him, twice as many – 26 percent – say it will make them less likely to give him their vote. Perhaps more significant in a very close race, those “less likely” voters include 10 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Independents.