Pennsylvanians are beginning to warm up to the idea of gay marriage according to the latest survey by Public Policy Polling. Statewide, 39 percent of voters support gay marriage while 48 percent oppose it, with the percentage of supporters increasing 7 percent from a previous Public Policy Polling survey on the issue in November.
Approval and opposition toward gay marriage fell along ideological lines, with voters who identified themselves as “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal” approving of same-sex marriage 73 and 56 percent respectively. Those who identified themselves as “somewhat conservative” or “very conservative” opposed legal recognition for same-sex couples in any form 41 and 57 percent respectively.
The increase in support toward gay marriage was mainly fueled by increasing support for it among African Americans, who now narrowly support the issue 42 percent to 41 percent. In their November survey, Public Policy Polling found that black voters overwhelmingly opposed gay marriage 52 percent to 34 percent.
This change in support among black voters reflects similar findings in North Carolina. After President Barack Obama publicly announced his support of gay marriage, Public Policy Polling found that 27 percent of black voters supported gay marriage, up from 20 percent in a May 6 poll taken three days before President Obama made his announcement.
In general, a majority of Pennsylvanians support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples, with 68 percent saying they supported civil unions or gay marriage. This includes 54 percent of Republicans.
Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said Obama approving of same-sex marriage has received media attention for the wrong reasons.
“We’ve now found in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania that black voters have moved toward support of gay marriage in wake of Barack Obama’s announcement,” Debnam said.
“The media’s been asking the wrong question. The big issue isn’t how Obama’s stance will affect his re-election hopes. It’s how Obama’s stance will move public opinion on gay marriage.”