Friday, May 25, 2012

Pa. Blacks Shift Quickly in Favor of Marriage Equality

It's becoming increasingly difficult for extremist groups, like the Venango County-based American Family Association of Pennsylvania, to use race as a wedge to divide communities, as it has cynically done for so, so long ...

From Public Policy Polling - May 23, 2012:

Raleigh, N.C. – President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage is rapidly shifting the opinions of black voters around the country; PPP has found this already in North Carolina and nationally. Nearly all of the slight movement in Pennsylvania toward acceptance of same-sex marriage since PPP last polled on the issue in November is with black voters. Whereas only 36% of all Pennsylvanians thought gay marriage should be legal and 52% illegal last fall, now that is a 39-48 spread. That is because African Americans have moved from being against it by a strong margin (34-52) to being split, 42-41 for it.

“We’ve now found in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania that black voters have moved more toward support of gay marriage in the wake of Barack Obama’s announcement,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “The media’s been asking the wrong question- the big issue isn’t how Obama’s stance will affect his reelection hopes. It’s how Obama’s stance will move public opinion on gay marriage.”

Tom Smith has not done much for his public profile since beating a host of unknowns in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary almost a month ago. Now 45% of voters have an opinion on him, up from 25% in March. But whereas voters were split previously—12% favorable and 13% unfavorable—now they are decidedly negative, 16- 29. Because of that, freshman Sen. Bob Casey is able to survive his continuously tepid approval numbers (39% approve, 38% disapprove) to post a lead over Smith quite similar to that before the primary. He led 49-31 then, and 49-33 now.

There has been very little movement among Democrats, Republicans, or independents. But the silver lining for Smith is that if he improves upon his 59% of the GOP vote and brings it more towards Casey’s 76% of his own party, he is bound to tighten the race. But he will also have to cut into Casey’s nearly 20-point lead with independents.

Democrats have slight edges in three other statewide races, but with even more undecided than in the Senate contest. Kathleen Kane leads David Freed for Attorney General, 42- 33, and the Democrats in the Treasurer and Auditor General races have identical 35-34 edges over their GOP opponents.

PPP surveyed 671 Pennsylvania voters from May 17th to 20th. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.8%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.

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