“There’s been a dramatic zero-point shift in the polls since Obama came out for gay marriage,” tweeted Nate Silver on Monday.
The tweet wasn’t attached to a post or to a particular poll, but we can run some of the numbers on our own. As it happens, today is the first day that all of the polls included in the Real Clear Politics head-to-head average were taken fully or mostly after May 9th, the day President Obama endorsed gay marriage. As of this morning, they show Obama with a 1.7 percent lead. Looking back at the Wonkbook Dashboards, on the morning of May 9th, however, Obama had a 0.2 percent lead in the RCP head-to-head average. So since coming out for gay marriage, his numbers have slightly improved.
A 1.5 percent swing in the polling average isn’t nothing. But it’s not much. And it’s certainly not clear it was caused by Obama’s comments on gay marriage. What we can say is that for all the hubbub, and all the column inches devoted to gaming out the political fallout, Obama’s announcement led to little evident movement in the polls, and what movement there has been has been in his favor. That doesn’t mean gay marriage can’t matter later in the campaign — if it increases turnout among Ohio evangelicals, or leads to much-improved superPAC fundraising for Obama, it could have an impact on the election without having a major effect in national polling — but for now, it doesn’t appear to be changing many votes.
RCP Obama vs. Romney: Obama +2.3%; 7-day change: Obama +0.9%.
RCP Obama approval: 49.0%; 7-day change: +0.7%.
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This article originally appeared on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-obamas-gay-marriage-bump/2012/05/22/gIQAMyZlhU_blog.html