When President Obama announced last week that he supported same-sex marriage, the conventional wisdom was that the president ran the risk of alienating black voters, who make up a big part of his base and who are generally less supportive of letting gays and lesbians marry.
But the president's stance has had little effect on his black support, and it may have even helped changed some African Americans' opinions on the issue in at least one state.
According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, 55 percent of black voters in North Carolina "believe same-sex couples should either be allowed to marry or form civil unions" — an 11-point jump from the last poll conducted on May 6 before the Tar Heel State's primaries.
Just a day before President Obama made his statement, voters in North Carolina went to the polls to approve a constitutional ban on same sex marriage there. Two-thirds of the black voters cast votes in favor of the ban, according to Politico.
The pollsters noted that same-sex marriage is still viewed unfavorably in North Carolina, with 58 percent of voters saying they were opposed to same-sex marriage. (The constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage in North Carolina passed with 61 percent of the vote.) But voters there were more sympathetic to the idea of allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions: 55 percent of voters believe gay couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions. That's also up from the pre-primary survey, by two points.
President Obama won North Carolina in 2008 — the first Democrat to do so since Jimmy Carter in 1976. But the most recent poll from Rasmussen shows him trailing his presumptive Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, 51 to 43, while the latest PPP poll shows the two of them in a virtual dead heat.