American Voters Have Bigger Worries Than Gay Marriage

SimpsonsGayNupsDuring the Bush years, marriage equality ranked as a top concern for voters, mostly among conservatives who wanted to squash the prospect all together. How times have changed.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that gay marriage is the least of voters' worries this election season: a scant 28% said that marriage equality is a "very important" electoral issue for them.

Huffington Post elaborates:

Conducted on April 4 and 5, the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that a mere 28 percent of those polled ranked marriage equality as "very important" to their vote. Significantly higher on voters' list of election concerns were the economy and jobs — which topped the list, at 86 and 84 percent respectively — along with health care at 74 percent.

Among those to praise the results was Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese, who called support for LGBT equality "common sense."

Solmonese noted in a statement: "Fair-minded people are increasingly aware that extending rights, benefits, and protections to their LGBT neighbors strengthens the communities they live and work in. It’s important to remember that so much of what we’re fighting for — marriage equality, workplace protections, fair treatment when our loved ones are hospitalized — contributes to a strengthening of the issues voters care about the most." He added, "This latest data reinforces the fact that supporting LGBT equality is not a divisive wedge issue."

While this is indeed good news, it also means that we most likely won't be hearing too much about same-sex nuptials on the campaign trail.


  1. Chadd says

    I don’t understand the statistic. 28% say marriage equality is “very important” in their vote. Is that 28% who want marriage equality or 28% who absolutely don’t want marriage equality or is it some of both? If I want marriage equality and my neighbor doesn’t and we both find that to be “very important” in our vote, then we would be lumped together in the survey. The survey would be more meaningful if it distinguished between pro and anti marriage equality voting patterns.

  2. says

    A scant 28%? Have you people lost it? That’s a huge percent in electoral politics, and shows that we can still be used as a wedge issue. I can only guess that you’re downplaying it in order to keep lobbying during the campaign, not caring if you harm the dems.

  3. Matt says

    Ooh la la, and yet Republicans still love those social issues. Well, what’s 86% and 74% compared to 28%? Why have real answers to real problems when you can just pull a red herring? Republicans are obviously not all that bright.

  4. Mary says

    Chadd raises a good point. And I would expect that economic issues will ALWAYS rank above social issues because they have a more immediate and direct effect on people’s lives. But many people will hide their true feelings when questioned by pollsters if they believe they will be judged as bigoted or hateful. Unfortunately for the gay community, there is still a lot of ambivalence about gay rights issues.

    The ballot box is one place where the angry and the insulted can get their revenge. This is partly why I always advise caution in saying or doing things that are unnecessarily offensive to swing voters.

  5. KP says

    So only 28% of people think its important – thats means both people who are for and against it. For 72%, its is not important at all – which the problem we are facing. Most Americans are not against it but they also aren’t going to do anything for it either. They are mostly apatheic. I’m not sure this it the great news HRC seems to think it is.

  6. Javier says

    There were similar polls in 2004, 2006, and 2008, and yet, when people voted, they became large issues, particularly in states with ballot initiatives on this issue. And, unfortunately, it turned out bad for gay rights.

  7. Keith says

    This statistic actually doesn’t take in to account the idea that because so many states now have Consitutional Amendments preventing such marriages, that conservatives now think the issue is settled in their state and they don’t have to worry about it any time soon. If there were truly a risk in a state in which such a marriage ban had been enacted and enshrined in the state’s constitution, I suspect that the percentage would rate it a higher issue than they currently do in these polls. There’s not really ambivalence. ..they just feel they’ve “protected marriage” and don’t have to worry about it right now.

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