A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found 53 percent of U.S. voters believe gay marriage should be legal, a record shift in public opinion from just six years ago when support was at 36 percent. The poll also found people of color are more likely to support gay marriage than whites with black support at record high.
The poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter. Though statistically significant, it is a tentative result because of the relatively small sample of black voters in the poll.
The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.
“This is why they call it a bully pulpit, and why presidential leadership extends far beyond debating Congress,” said Kai Wright, Colorlines.com’s Editorial Director. “Reactionary politics have always found a powerful tool in fear, in stirring horrific fantasies that the sky will fall if we strip away layers of privilege and exclusion. My family will hate me if I come out. Voters will hate me if I stand up for what I believe. But polls have shown consistently that when LGBT people and their allies stand up and lead, people in all communities follow.”