Abortion, gay marriage and swing states, oh my!
A slew of new polling paints a difficult road ahead for President Obama in Florida, record support for same-sex marriage nationally as well as a near-record number of Americans identifying as ‘pro-life’ when it comes to abortion.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney leads Obama 47 percent to 41 percent in the Sunshine State.
A similar poll taken at the beginning of the month showed the two men virtually tied. The poll, taken between May 15-21 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percent, contradicts the results of a Suffolk University poll released about two weeks ago and shows the volatility in Florida.
“Gov. Mitt Romney has slipped into the lead in Florida and that standing is confirmed by his much better numbers than the president when voters are asked whether they view the candidates favorably or unfavorably,” said Peter Brown, assistant vice president of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release accompanying the results.
But though Romney’s lead in Florida is important, he still trails Obama in a Wall Street Journal-NBC News national poll which showed Obama with 47 percent support to Romney’s 43 percent.
Another set of polls, measuring Americans’ views on a pair of hot-button social issues were also recently released.
Following the president’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, a Washington Post-ABC News tally marked a record high in support, with 53 percent saying they are for gay marriage, compared to 39 percent who oppose it. When asked if they had a friend, family member or acquaintance that is gay, 71 percent of respondents said yes versus 28 percent who said no.
And a new Gallup poll marked a near record high, 50 percent, of Americans saying they identified as “pro-life,” compared to 41 percent saying they are “pro-choice.”
Gallup said compared to a similar survey conducted a year ago, 10 percent fewer independent voters identified as pro-choice and 6 percent more said they are pro-life, marking only the second time since 1995 when the tracking poll began that more independents said they were pro-life.
Lydia Saad, a senior editor for the Gallup Poll, said despite the movement on how Americans describe themselves, core views on the issue have remained static.
“While Americans’ identification as pro-choice has waned over the past year, their fundamental views about the morality and legality of abortion have held steady,” she wrote in a release accompanying the results. “Half of Americans, 51 percent, consider abortion morally wrong and 38 percent say it is morally acceptable – nearly identical to the results in May 2011.”
The presidential election has largely focused on the state of the struggling economy and it’s likely the candidates’ will both try and keep their messages keyed into pocketbook issues.
Both Romney and Obama are loathe to wade into potentially divisive social issues, although since Obama’s embrace of gay marriage, his campaign has touted renewed support for him in the gay community.
On Wednesday, the Obama team hosted a conference call with top gay rights activists to promote a new campaign arm called “Obama Pride,” billed as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans for Obama.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.