President Obama might be changing minds with his support for marriage equality, at least among African-American voters, a new poll shows.
In a poll conducted in North Carolina ahead of a vote on Amendment One, Public Policy Polling had found that just 20% of black voters supported same-sex marriage. That number has now shot up to 27%, its new poll shows, progressing dramatically during the little time since President Obama came out for marriage equality on the day after North Carolina voted.
Black voters are of great interest to political pundits who had speculated Obama could risk votes in the African-American community by supporting marriage equality. African-Americans are traditionally less supportive of same-sex marriage than the rest of the public. But the PPP poll found the opposite effect.
"Obama's words look to be having an impact," wrote PPP in announcing the poll results. Before the primary, 44% of African Americans supported either marriage or civil unions. That number has shot up to 55% with opposition also falling dramatically.
Prominent black leaders went so far as to issue a joint statement on May 11 after speculation kept going on whether their community would reject Obama. Reverend Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network; Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of NAACP; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and the Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference all signed a statement saying that "as civil rights leaders we cannot fight to gain rights for some and not for all."
Rising Democratic star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, told BuzzFeed in an interview Wednesday that he doesn't see black voters rejecting Obama.
"To the extent of diffusing a statistically significant amount of voters, I just don’t think it’s going to matter," Booker told BuzzFeed. "I just haven’t seen any evidence of that in Newark."
Veteran civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke out today in an interview with Time magazine against the notion that black people are to blame for antigay state referendums passing.
"The issue has failed in 29 states because of the white church," he said. "The black church did not alone bear the cultural cross of this tension and transition."