Poll: Americans divided over Obama’s support for same-sex marriage

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday shows that while Americans are divided evenly in their responses to President Obama’s new position supporting gay marriage, 54 percent of African Americans expressed a favorable view of Obama’s position on the issue.

In total, 46 percent of respondents expressed a favorable impression of Obama’s statement during an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts last week, in which the President said he personally has come to support marriage equality for same-sex couples; 47 percent responded unfavorably.

One notable difference over previous polling is by race, ABC News reported.

Just 41 percent of African-Americans supported gay marriage in ABC/Post polls in mid-2011 and early 2012. Yet 54 percent express a favorable view of his position on the issue in this poll – suggesting that, for some, allegiance to Obama may have prompted a rethink on the issue itself.

At the same time, among whites, support for gay marriage was 9 points higher in March than are positive responses to Obama’s position now, 54 percent vs. 45 percent, apparently indicating the opposite effect.

Last week, GOP Congressman Allen West, (R-Fla.) a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, told ABC News that Obama’s announcement is “going to cause an incredible discussion in the black community, because, as you know, on Sundays in the black community the most conservative people in America are in those black churches.”

The ABC News/Washington Post poll also mirrored a wide gender gap in Obama’s support more generally — 54 percent of women respond favorably to his backing of gay marriage, compared with 37 percent of men.

There was an even broader gap by age – 63 percent of young adults favor the president’s position, vs. 34 percent of seniors.

An encouraging sign for Obama, the poll revealed, is that independent swing voters had a slightly more favorable than unfavorable view of his position.

A CBS News/New York Times poll released Monday showed that two-thirds of Americans support legal recognition of same-sex unions, and also indicated that support full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is significantly higher among younger generations.

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