Section 1: Little Change in Views of Gay Marriage Following Obama's Announcement
Obama’s statement on May 9 that “same-sex couples should be able to get
married” garnered significant public and media attention. Reports about Obama’sendorsement of gay marriage accounted for 14% of major news organizations’
coverage over the course of that week, equal to the amount of coverage given to
the election contest and nearly double the amount of coverage of the nation’s
economy, according to an analysis by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted May 10-May 13
found that a quarter of Americans (26%) said they followed the news about
Obama’s statement more closely than any other news event that week.
two consecutive Pew Research Center surveys conducted in the wake of Obama’s
announcement show that it had no significant effect on the balance of public
opinion on the issue. Both surveys, conducted in June and July, found 48% in
favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, and 44% opposed. That is
largely unchanged from a 47% to 43% balance of opinion in April of this year.
stability over the course of the year exists across most key demographic
groups: There is virtually no change in attitudes toward gay marriage across
age, race and ethnic groups. Among political groups, support for gay marriage
among liberal Democrats has increased by ten points since April. But opinions
among conservative and moderate Democrats have changed less – 54% favor gay
marriage in June/July polling; 49% did so in April. Conservative Republicans’
views also are largely unchanged: 75% opposed gay marriage before Obama’s
announcement, 78% oppose it currently.
is also little evidence that views of Obama have changed as a result of his
support for gay marriage. A Pew Research Center survey conducted immediately after
Obama’s announcement (May 10-13) found roughly half (52%)
saying his support for gay marriage did not affect their opinion of him. A
quarter (25%) said they felt less favorably toward Obama while 19% said they
felt more favorably. Obama’s overall approval ratings have remained relatively
stable over this period.
marriage remains a relatively low-priority issue for most voters. In the current
survey, only one-in-twenty Americans (4%) say that gay marriage is the issue
that matters most to them in deciding their vote for president this year.
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