In spite of widespread reporting to the contrary, a May 10 Gallup poll shows that the president’s sudden decision to back same-sex marriage is likely to hurt him at the polls in November.
The Daily Beast is reporting that 51 percent of Americans said they approve of the President’s announcement, with 45 percent saying they disapprove. However, what most press reports aren’t mentioning is that nearly a third of the respondents indicated that they are less likely to vote for him now compared to only 13 percent who said they were more likely to vote for him.
This is not good news for the president’s re-election team.
The president’s advisors anticipated this reaction and knew the decision wouldn’t play well with some, particularly religious groups and the leaders of African American churches. This is why he spent the hours immediately following the announcement on conference calls with pastors and those leaders to whom he looks for advice on the matter.
According to The New York Times, not all of them were enthusiastic about his decision and some made it clear that it would make it difficult for them to support his re-election.
“They were wrestling with their ability to get over his theological position,” said the Rev. Delman Coates, the pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., who was on the call.
By the end of the call, some agreed “work aggressively” on behalf of his campaign, but not all.
“Gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture,” Mr. Coates said. “There are people who are really wrestling with this.”
“The damage-control effort underscored the anxiety among Mr. Obama’s advisers about the consequences of the president’s revised position just months before what is expected to be a tight re-election vote,” the Times wrote.
“I think the president this past week took six or seven states he carried in 2008 and put them in play with this one ill-conceived position that he’s taken,” said American Values President Gary Bauer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council told CBS’ Face the Nation that he thinks the presidents flip-flop in the issue “has helped fit that missing piece of intensity that Mitt Romney is going to need.”
Professional pollsters, such as Gallup, say it’s too early to tell just how damaging the position will prove to be in November.
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