A significant majority of Americans oppose gay marriage, according to a new poll by Politico.
The poll of likely voters found that only 40 percent believe same-sex couples should be legally married. Thirty percent said gays should be allowed civil unions but not marriage, and 24 percent opposed all types of legal unions for homosexuals – meaning a total of 54 percent oppose gay marriage.
The poll suggests that, as the Supreme Court prepares to take up the Constitutionality of gay marriage, support for the idea – as well as President Obama’s decision to back gay marriage – might not be as strong as generally thought.
The poll says that by 48-42 percent, respondents approve of “the job President Obama is doing” on gay marriage, but that’s a nebulous way up putting the question, and the result has little meaning.
The author who reported the poll chose to emphasize the more politically correct conclusion – that a “plurality” support gay marriage. But that doesn’t appear to me to be the news here at all.
While, in my view, the article is written incorrectly, the poll was constructed superbly, unlike other recent polls that have shown a small majority favoring allowing gay marriage. These polls have offered the all or nothing choice – do you oppose gay marriage or not?
This poll actually offers respondents the choice they face in the real world: to alter the institution of marriage by allowing couples of the same sex to wed, or to allow a half-way measure – civil unions – and maintain marriage as between opposite sexes.
The other polls are approximately like asking people if they support the death penalty for murderers or 30 years in prison, without offering the option of life in prison without parole.