Attitudes toward gay marriage among the electorate as a whole have shown a big step toward the “pro” side in recent years. Two years ago, only 40 percent of respondents to a Gallup survey were in favor of same-sex marriage. Last May, 53 percent said they would approve. It was the first time a poll showed a majority of the US population taking that position.
Among independents, the slice of the electorate crucial to victory in November, approval was even higher, at 59 percent. Nor is Gallup alone; a recent survey from the Pew Center showed similar results, with a plurality of 46 percent approving of gay marriage.
The issue remains volatile, and the approval rating here is fairly narrow. That can be seen by President Obama’s own awkward attempts to strike some balance on this subject. But the fact is that Democrats could easily paint Santorum as out of step with the US on this. And they will try to do that, if he wins.
Santorum’s biggest problem here, though, might be that Republicans know the former Pennsylvania Senator might not wear well on the entire public. While they respect his cultural warrior credentials, the emphasis Santorum has put on the “warrior” part of this equation in the past has at times made him seem combative and dour.
At the conservative “RedState” blog, contributor Leon H. Wolf wrote a post on Friday to the effect that while he likes Santorum, the GOP should really, really not nominate him.
“As we have seen during the debates this year, he reacts to people disagreeing with him by immediately moving into angry, sneering, whiny defensiveness,” writes Wolf. “He was tremendously ineffective as a member of the Senate leadership because his personality does not command loyalty or respect.”