Polls and Predictions

New 2016 primary polls by NBC News/Marist College have a surprising finding, reports the Washington Post. The findings show that about half of likely GOP caucus and primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina said they find opposition to gay marriage either “mostly” or “totally” unacceptable in a candidate. Fifty-two percent of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina said opposing gay marriage is either mostly or totally unacceptable, while 47 percent of likely Iowa caucus voters agree.

The findings, however, have some caveats. For instance:

There’s also the possibility that the poll question confused some people. Asking people about gay marriage opposition rather than support for it brings double-negatives into the picture, possibly confusing some poll respondents. And people are more apt to respond in the negative when in doubt. …

You also have to wonder just how much of a deal-breaker gay marriage support is. The poll asked about opposition to gay marriage—not support—so it’s a little harder to suss out just how many people would vote against a candidate who supports gay marriage. We’re guessing it’s still more of a voting issue for those who oppose gay marriage than those who support it— at least on the GOP side.

I think these poll results need to be taken with a grain of salt. But if not now, then sooner than many expect, support for marriage inclusive of same-sex couples will be an accepted conservative stance, as it is in Britain and, albeit to a lesser extent (for now) in Canada, although a religious-traditionalist bloc within the party will remain opposed.

23 Comments for “Polls and Predictions”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The question will be whether or not a candidate’s position on marriage equality is a voting issue for the Republicans who answered that opposition to marriage equality was “mostly or totally unacceptable”. I doubt, that for many of them, it will be.

    Polls have consistently shown that straight voters put a very low priority on the issue — typically 1-2% give it a high priority.

    In the Republican presidential primaries, support for marriage equality won’t be an issue, unless something changes. All of the Republican candidates have expressed opposition to marriage equality, so the importance of the issue won’t be tested.

    Could the candidate’s opposition to marriage equality have an effect in the general election? Maybe, but I suspect that the number of defections by Republicans because of the party’s position on marriage equality will be low. It hasn’t stopped conservative gays and lesbians from supporting anti-equality candidates in the past, and, given the low importance of the issue to straight voters, I can’t imagine that it will stop any of them from voting Republican, either, at least this time around.

    In the longer term, though, the increasing support for marriage equality among Republicans is a hopeful sign. By the 2020 election cycle, opposition to marriage equality might become a negative in Republican primaries, and that would be a good thing.

    The Post article observes: “We’re guessing it’s still more of a voting issue for those who oppose gay marriage than those who support it— at least on the GOP side.”

    I agree with that assessment. A significant part of the Republican base strongly opposes marriage equality, and that part of the base will be fired up this election cycle.

  2. posted by Houndentenor on

    The problem, of course, is that as we learned in 2004, 2008 and 2012 that even voters who claim they are for gay rights (not just marriage) will still vote for an anti-gay candidate and do so unapologetically. The same cannot be said for the anti-gay crowd in the GOP. So what are the changes, given this calculation, that the 2016 nominee will be in favor of gay marriage?

    • posted by Mark Peterson on

      The classic example here was Cory Gardner in 2014. Colorado’s a pro-gay rights state, and Gardner had a rabidly anti-gay voting record. Yet a substantial percentage of these supposedly pro-gay voters nonetheless voted for Gardner. The supposedly pro-gay rights Denver Post even endorsed him. In the end, they just don’t care very much about equal rights.

  3. posted by JohnInCA on

    Grain of salt? Hell, I’ll take it with a pound.

    Quite simply, i will have to see it to believe it when it comes to republicans actually not supporting a candidate because of anti-LGBT/marriage statements/record. Even when they disapprove, they don’t care enough to actually change their voting.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Assuming that the poll shows a change in attitude among Republicans, I don’t think that it will be a factor in the 2012 election.

      All of the Republican presidential candidates are on record opposing marriage equality. The issue won’t come up in the primaries, except as a shadow issue, as candidates calibrate around so-called “religious freedom” and similar issues.

      In the general election, it likely won’t be a factor, either, given the history of pro-equality conservatives to vote for anti-equality candidates.

      I suppose that will change eventually, but I can’t help but remember that in 2012, the pro-equality Republicans (even the LGBT ones like Stephen and the LCR) endorsed and turned out for a candidate who signed the NOM Marriage Pledge and ran on the most anti-equality platform in Republican Party history.

      Whatever the views of Republican voters, the questions are: (1) what will it take to change the anti-equality voting pattern by pro-equality Republicans, and (2) how soon will the Republican Party be able to field viable pro-equality candidates, groomed and ready for higher offices?

      The latter question is not unimportant, or insignificant. The stable of Republican elected officials is permeated with anti-equality politicians from top to bottom.

      In Wisconsin, for example, there is not a single Republican office-holder in state or federal office who is pro-equality — not in the Assembly, not in the State Senate, not in Congress, not in the Senate and not in statewide office. There is a smattering of pro-equality Republican elected officials in other states, but the number is few enough that it is easy to name them all in one breath.

      So who is going to carry the pro-equality Republican banner going forward?

      I’m not suggesting that things won’t change in the Republican Party. Things will change, and I suspect that the 2020 election cycle will look significantly different than the current election cycle.

      But I don’t expect things to change this election cycle, no matter how many polls show that opposition to marriage equality is a “deal breaker” for many Republicans. Who are they going to vote for, if that’s the case?

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        Oh, it’ll come up all right! Watch the candidates try to outdo each other in the primaries of many states to see who is the most anti-gay. Now, if the Republicans who aren’t anti-gay are serious about this issue, they could rally around a primary candidate who will at least bring that point of view to the debates, but I have yet to see any such seriousness among Republicans. Yes, they’ll yell at their gay “friends” for daring to imply that the party is anti-gay, but there is little to no effort to actually MAKE the party and it’s platform any less anti-gay.

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Oh, it’ll come up all right! Watch the candidates try to outdo each other in the primaries of many states to see who is the most anti-gay.

        I don’t see that happening. None of the candidates will take a pro-equality stance, of course. But I don’t expect a race to the bottom, as we had in 2012. The “enlightened” canddiates will use the emerging establishment formula (“I oppose SSM and have a long record to prove it. However the Court has spoken and I respect the rule of law. I believe that we should also respect the religious freedom of Americans, like me, who oppose SSM.”) The “social conservative” candidates will use a variant of that formula, with a message of resistance (e.g. the federal “marriage is a state issue” amendment) with attacks on “judicial activists”, and so on. Watch for the “enlightened” to promise to appoint clones of Roberts and Alito (although Roberts will get dropped like a rock if he votes with the pro-equality majority); the social conservatives to appoint clones of Scalia and Thomas.

        Now, if the Republicans who aren’t anti-gay are serious about this issue, they could rally around a primary candidate who will at least bring that point of view to the debates …

        Like who? All the the 20-odd Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination are solidly anti-equality.

  4. posted by Houndentenor on

    Republicans who think a court decision will make this a settled issue are in complete denial. From Oklahoma:


  5. posted by Don on

    I find the interplay between surveys like this and the news pouring out of Oklahoma and Alabama fascinating. I think the two phenomena are related in that one pushes a majority away from them. Granted, the majority is Oklahoma and Alabama are running things. But the national majority of conservatives are likely being shaped by events outside those state borders.

    Still, way too early to tell how this will play out. Apparently, banning all marriages (taking the ball and going home with it) is still considered a viable option for those with more than a kindergarten education.

    I did not know that.

  6. posted by Jorge on

    I think these poll results need to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Well, okay. I say wait for the third repeat of a story before banking on it. We already know political opinions are shifting and that there is greater political awareness. But to get this specific? I think we do not know.

  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    As a side note, the legal situation in Alabama remains complicated and could become more complicated within a few days:

    (1) As of last night, 48 counties were issuing licenses to both straight and G/L couples, 13 to straight couples only, and 6 to no couples at all. The number has remained relatively static for a week now.

    (2) A petition was filed in the Alabama Supreme Court last week asking the court to issue writs of mandamus ordering the state’s Probate Judges to cease issuing marriage licenses to G/L couples. The court agreed to consider the petition, 6-2 (Chief Justice Moore abstaining). Final briefs are due tomorrow, February 20, and the court is expected to rule quickly, one way or the other. If the court does issue the writs, the court will have created a direct confrontation with the federal District Court under the Supremacy Clause, which may well alter the license situation in Alabama yet again.

    Meanwhile, a Texas County Judge ruled for marriage equality yesterday, and that decision is subject to the usual emergency motions for a stay at the Texas Supreme Court, and whatnot. It isn’t clear what will happen, but my guess is that the decision will be stayed quickly.

    The 5th Circuit ruling on the Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi federal cases remains pending, but we are entering the time window where a ruling could be issued.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      An update: The county judge in Texas issued an order requiring Travis County to issue a marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, the couple involved in the lawsuit, and the couple was married this morning by Rabbi Kerry Baker.

      The order was specific to the couple and does not apply to anyone else. But chalk one up for the Gipper.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      2nd Update: The Texas Supreme Court just issued an order staying the county court’s decision, so no more marriage licenses will be issued. But, hell, one beats a blank.

  8. posted by Kosh III on

    More news from Stephen’s conservative paradise of “religious exemptions”


  9. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The American Conservative Union has, apparently, once again denied Log Cabin Republicans “<a href="http://www.logcabin.org/pressrelease/log-cabin-republicans-statement-on-exclusion-from-cpac/"a seat at the table” at CPAC. Nonetheless, LCR head Greg Angelo noted “I will be attending CPAC, as will hundreds of other Log Cabin Republicans members and supporters.” I wonder why. If I were a G/L Republican, I’d tell CPAC to shove it and contribute the admission fee to the American Unity Fund.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Whoops. Here’s the link to the LCR press release, properly formatted.

    • posted by Tom Jefferson III on

      The American Conservative Union is a HUGE right for members of the political right, so perhaps its just like a comic convention or or an S&M convention or something; they just cannot stay away.

      I would agree that it looks pretty bad when the American Conservative Union says ‘no’ to the Log Cabin Republicans and gay conservatives (and their supposed conservative allies) do not really seem to care.

      • posted by Mike in Houston on

        Craigslist M4M and Grindr tend to blowup around CPAC…

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        It had better be something given the price: $300 to attend the 3-day, $125 for a day pass. Assuming that 100 LCR members sign up for the 3-day, that’s $30,000 that could have been given to something useful.

        The Friday breakout on “The Future of Marriage in America” might be fun for LCR members, but the Saturday main stage event — “Main Stage Discussion: Religious Liberty in America: Would the Pilgrims Still Be Welcome Here?” — will provide better talking points about how the left/liberal homosexual juggernaut is working to destroy America.

        But I’m not into political BDSM personally, so I’d stay home and give the $300 to the American Unity Fund, myself.

        • posted by Don on

          The Pilgrims roundtable topic makes me chuckle. The reason they left was because they could not follow their minority view of Christianity. Seems the majority had an “official” view with which they disagreed.

          So who exactly would be chasing them out with pitchforks? Ah, yes. The people holding the roundtable discussion, of course.

  10. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    1. I have to wonder…if a gay couple gets married in Alabama county ‘a’ and then cross over into say, Alabama county ‘b’ (which does not do any marriages or just refuses to do gay marriage)….is the couple automatically divorced (while in county ‘b’)?

    What happens if the gay couple — after getting married in county ‘a’ goes to the edge of the county border and jumps back and forth between the counties……..

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Marriage in Alabama, as is the case in all states, is statewide. A couple legally married in any Alabama county is legal married in the entire state. The opposite is true across state boundaries, in the case of same-sex couples.

      It will change.

  11. posted by Don on

    And the crowd goes wild! Texas has jumped back into the fray. With shrieks of horror (as if they had not been watching the news for the last year), they are pushing their way back to the head of the pack of crazy anti-gay shenanigans.

    But they have their work cut out for them. Florida made a half-hearted try, but Alabama has pulled way out into the lead with chief justices and legions of probate judges and clerks standing athwart history yelling STOP! Oklahoma has tried to jump in by doing away with marriage altogether, but Alabama has already seen to that. Gotta up your game!

    Can Texas truly challenge Alabama as one of the most bigoted states in the Union? They are the reigning cham-peen after all! Do they have enough rabid, delusional politicians ready to stay totally insane stuff to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? Stay tuned!

    Meanwhile, remind me again why gay people are so mean by making other people bake cakes and arrange flowers for them. It’s almost as if there was some organized effort to provoke them or something.

    Next up: evil gay people expecting public employees to fulfill their job duties. The horror!

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