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The miracle worker

Timothy Kincaid

May 24th, 2012

Anti-Obama activists like to sneeringly refer to the President as “the liberals’ messiah”. But maybe they are really on to something; maybe Barack Obama really can work miracles.

From Public Policy Polling (pdf):

-57% of Maryland voters say they’re likely to vote for the new marriage law this fall, compared to only 37% who are opposed. That 20 point margin of passage represents a 12 point shift from an identical PPP survey in early March, which found it ahead by a closer 52/44 margin.

-The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.

-The big shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage among black voters in Maryland is reflective of what’s happening nationally right now. A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds 59% of African Americans across the country supportive of same-sex marriage. A PPP poll in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania last weekend found a shift of 19 points in favor of same-sex marriage among black voters.

What happened in between? The President evolved. And then NAACP board endorsed equality. And now it appears that there were a large number of black voters who have also completed their evolution process.

To be honest, I did not expect this in the slightest. And (like the polls last year that suddenly and unexpectedly showed a majority of Americans support marriage) it seems too good to be true. And I’m still going to wait for additional polling confirmation (and perhaps even the Maryland vote) before I am fully convinced.

But these are huge and very significant changes and if they are real then I’m delighted to give credit where due. I think that discovering that the National Organization for Marriage was condescendingly playing up racism played a part, but it was the President’s announcement that I think really cued the change. (And I can’t wait for NOM’s response… I’m grinning already)

If Black Americans are supporting equality, then I’m ready to party. You bring Obama and I’ll bring the wine… no, scratch that… I’ll bring the water. Miracles are happening.



May 24th, 2012 | LINK

A+ post Timothy, well done

May 24th, 2012 | LINK

You have to wonder how he could have influenced the North Carolina vote had he come out for marriage a few weeks earlier and not the day after the vote.

I don’t think he could have changed the end result because it was a Republican primary after all.

I don’t think the impact of his support, and the official support of the NAACP, can be overestimated.

May 24th, 2012 | LINK

I listened to that pompous ass from Focus on the Family on CNN today. He completely misrepresented research on raising children and kept saying voters have never approved same sex marriage. We’ll never get him to stop telling lies about the research but I really hope this fall ends his ability to say voters have never approved of gay marriage.

May 24th, 2012 | LINK

I agree with Timothy. This is incredibly unexpected. So much so, that I don’t quite trust it. Let’s wait a few months and see where we’re at with the average black voter.

May 25th, 2012 | LINK

One of the most impressive things about this president is his ability to build a coalition. Remember the surge of anger and flat-out racism after Prop 8, when polls showed how strongly the black community had opposed marriage equality? Now, in North Carolina, average support within that community is HIGHER than it is for whites.

Imagine what happens if this sticks, and we start thinking of one another as more natural allies. People talk about the political advantages for Obama, but the most enduring effects may be the grassroots strength that comes from that mutual cooperation.

May 25th, 2012 | LINK

It certainly is great to hear these poll results, but we really don’t know how people will vote in a place like MD and that will tell us whether this change is real. I think it is entirely possible that both the Obama and NAACP announcements didn’t specifically change people’s views on the matter, but rather made is more socially unacceptable to voice anti-gay sentiments. That alone would be a huge change, however, and would eventually lead to real change in views, but at some point in the future.

Priya Lynn
May 25th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, CPT_Doom, I find it hard to believe this huge shift in the polling amongst blacks is real, I’m thinking its much more likely this is a statistical fluke.

May 25th, 2012 | LINK

A statistical fluke shown across the board in multiple polls in different states from different sources? I highly doubt it.

Priya Lynn
May 25th, 2012 | LINK

I didn’t realize that was the case Stefan, I thought it was just one poll. Hopefully its a real and robust change.

Timothy Kincaid
May 25th, 2012 | LINK

I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not it is multi-poll. The PPP references an ABC poll, but the detail I saw didn’t report by race (perhaps PPP has better access). There may be other polling which also confirms the shift in black vote but I haven’t had time to review or verify it.

I’m currently in the optimistic and hopeful but still a little skeptical category. I want to believe it, but I don’t want to jump the gun.

Mark F.
May 25th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, such a huge shift in such a short time does seem suspicious. But there is no question the trends are strongly in our favor.

May 25th, 2012 | LINK

I believe it. Black people know discrimination. When their President came out and supported Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities that was the affirmation they needed that their inner thoughts were true. Of all people, black Americans know Discrimination when they see it.

Mark F.
May 26th, 2012 | LINK

I’m thinking that NC may be the last anti-gay vote in the United States.

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