Experts Expound

Under Discussion: “How does President Obama’s support of gay marriage, announced today after much anticipation, affect him at the polls in California, where voters have been opposed to gay marriage?”

It won’t affect him negatively. Voters assume he was in favor of it. Biden made his own views clear this weekend. After North Carolina’s ban and the administration’s view on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a clear statement will be welcomed by most of his voters.

It was just a matter of time until this happened.

It will have no affect on him in  California. Al Gore opposed Prop. 22 in 2000 and carried the state by 1.3 million votes. Obama opposed Prop. 8 in ’08, and carried California by 24 points. This is simply not a cutting-edge or determinative issue in California in statewide candidate races, despite the Repuiblicans’ fervent efforts to make it one.

Many things have changed from when Prop. 8 passed. California is now solidly pro-equality and so is the United States. Black voters aren’t going to abandon Obama, and this will help Obama with his base — and donors.

It will have absolutely ZERO negative impact in the Black community and the Latino community, which have been reticent to support gay marriage and voted against it previously. They will continue to support the President in overwhelming numbers. Senior citizens will be swayed most by Medicare proposals, not gay marriage proposals. Young people are supportive; middle-aged, white evangelicals will go ballistic over this, but they were never going to vote for President Obama, anyway.  The Pres did the right thing.

Proposition 8 was approved by more than 52 percent of the vote in the same election, November 2008, that Obama won California. I have to think that means Obama will have a tougher time in California this time around.

California voters would support gay marriage today if given the chance, and Obama’s decision only helps him with young voters and Democrats.

No impact on the president’s chances in California.


How does it hurt him? Anybody who was going to vote against Obama on social issues already has decided do it. The only tension here was timing — it took him quite a while to get around to a definitive statement.

Not much. Most gay-marriage opponents weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway. And Democrats who don’t support gay marriage won’t see his support as a deal-breaker.

Obama doesn’t have quite the cachet he did in ’08, but he still will take California. His problem won’t be the anti-gays, it will be the anti-tax people who will be motivated to come to the polls in droves.

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