The President's Same-Sex Marriage Position Could Help Him With His Base

May 16, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/12/2012) The President’s new support of same-sex marriage may have helped him with his base, without adding to the numbers who oppose him. Last week, only 32% in the Economist/YouGov Poll said they approved of the way the President was handling the issue of gay rights. This week, that percentage has jumped nine points—and now stands at 41%. The percentage disapproving of the President’s handling of this issue remains stable.

The change has come mostly from groups that have been more favorable to the President—and who are in general more favorable to same-sex marriage. Approval
of the President’s handing of gay rights has jumped twenty points among those under thirty, thirteen points each among college graduates and independents, and nine points among Democrats.

Blacks have tended to be less supportive of same-sex marriage. Two weeks ago, for example, just 29% of blacks supported same-sex marriage (this week, 34% do). And just 41% of blacks last week approved of how the President handled the issue. This week, 51% of them approve.

Few Republicans approve of the President’s handling of any issue. But 17% of Republicans approve his handling of gay rights this week, up from 12% last week.

The improvement in the President’s rating on the issue of gay rights has not resulted in Presidential evaluations overall. The President’s overall approval rating remains in the mid to low 40’s: 42% this week approve of how he is handling his job overall; 51% disapprove.

In recent Economist/YouGov Polls more than half the public has said Barack Obama is more likely to say what people want to hear than what he really believes. So it may not be a surprise that many don’t think he has really experienced a change of position on the subject of same-sex marriage. Slightly over half think he has favored same-sex marriage for a long time. Slightly less than half believe him when he says he recently changed his mind.

Small majorities of both Democrats and Republicans think the President has supported same-sex marriage for a while.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association

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