WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage appears to have made Americans on both sides of the issue even more entrenched in their positions, firing up his young, liberal backers and intensifying opposition from Republicans and conservatives, according to a new poll.
Overall, his announcement last month that he supported gay marriage did little to shift the nation’s views on the subject, with the country remaining evenly divided on it, the Associated Press-GfK survey found. And people still seem to favor him over Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney when it comes to handling social issues.
Even so, the poll, out Friday, found stronger approval from Democrats and liberals for the way he’s handled gay marriage over the last year and deeper discontent over that performance from the other side.
In the poll, 42% of respondents oppose gay marriage, 40% support it and 15% are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45% opposing, 42% favoring and 10% neutral.
The country’s divisions — and conflictions — are clear in the voices of Americans.
“Marriage is a marriage, and it’s between a man and a woman,” said John Von Sneidern, a 76-year-old Republican from Fairfield, Conn., before pausing. “But on the other side of that, there are a lot of gay couples who are responsible and dedicated to each other and deserve a lot of the benefits of marriage.”
The issue, however, won’t shape his vote. He plans to vote on the economy and support Romney because of his private-sector experience.
Katherine Galdarisi, a 67-year-old Democrat from Sacramento, Calif., backed Republican John McCain four years ago but plans to vote for Obama this time. That’s partly because she faults Republicans for not working with the president on issues voters care about, saying: “They fight him every step of the way and
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