- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2012

Barack Obama has been dubbed the “first gay president.” All the hype surrounding Mr. Obama’s position in favor of same-sex “marriage” may help guarantee he will be the last one for awhile.

This week’s Newsweek magazine features a striking cover announcing the advent of the “gay president” showing Mr. Obama gazing determinedly towards the horizon with a rainbow-colored halo. The Obama campaign didn’t plan for the issue to come out quite this way. Mr. Obama had been circumspect about discussing it, and even in his purportedly historic statement coming out in favor of the idea, he attempted to triangulate. He made it a personal preference as opposed to a government policy and deferred to the states, the majority of which define marriage as between a man and a woman. For those who care about the issue, pro or con, the image they will carry into the voting booth is the Newsweek cover.

The public is split on the issue, but the hype has placed Mr. Obama on the leftward edge, which will alienate more people than it attracts. A May 10 USAToday/Gallup poll showed approval of Mr. Obama’s stance 51 to 45 percent, but the most important numbers were the partisan breakdown. A quarter of Democrats said they would be more likely to get behind Mr. Obama because of his stand, while 52 percent of Republicans said they would be less likely. This shows that the issue fires up Mr. Obama’s opponents more than his supporters. Significantly, among independent voters, twice as many were turned off as switched on.

This political drama illustrates a general problem Mr. Obama has with moderate voters, who are beginning to desert him. Several recent polls show that in a matchup with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama loses moderates by 5 to 10 points. Gallup weekly data from the first and second weeks in May show a 6-point drop in support from independents, a 4-point drop among conservative Democrats, and a 7-point drop among liberal and moderate Republicans. Most alarming for the White House is the 10-point drop in Hispanic support, which now is running only 5 percent above the national average. Numbers like this would mean defeat in November.

In some respects, the homosexual “marriage” issue is a diversion. Jobs and the economy are overwhelmingly the top issues in every poll of national priorities, usually followed by the federal budget deficit. Some commentators have suggested Mr. Obama’s train wreck of a stand was designed to take attention away from the dismal economy, which it won’t. Others believe it will somehow harm Mr. Romney by drawing a contrast with the Republican’s support of traditional marriage, but this can only redound to his benefit and will help rally conservatives behind his candidacy.

Married people and those who attend religious services regularly give Mr. Obama some of his lowest marks, and culture-war issues generally benefit conservatives. Given the way things are heading with less than six months until the election, there is no reason for gaiety in the White House.

The Washington Times

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