The GOP's Anti-Gay Marriage Platform Puts It Way Out Of Step With Most Americans

Fewer than one-quarter of Americans want to vote for a president who opposes gay marriage.
GOP vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) addresses a news conference in New York on July 16, 2016.
GOP vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) addresses a news conference in New York on July 16, 2016. Pence's anti-LGBT stance could be a liability in the election, a new poll suggests.

The Republican Party’s continuing opposition to same-sex marriage may have appeased the party’s social conservatives, but it appeals to a dwindling slice of the electorate, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Despite efforts by some GOP delegates to moderate the party’s platform, the final document harshly condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality.

“Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values,” the platform reads in part.

That position puts the party at considerable remove from the American public, which appears largely uninterested in seeking a leader who is against gay marriage. Just 23 percent of Americans polled say that they’d be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who opposes gay marriage, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll. Thirty-five percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports gay marriage, while another 31 percent say it doesn’t matter.

While 37 percent of Republican respondents would like to see a president who opposes gay marriage, they’re outnumbered in their party by the 44 percent who don’t care and the 13 percent who’d actually prefer to see their party’s stance on the issue shift. 

Most voters aren’t choosing who to vote for based on gay marriage ― during the last midterm elections, just 8 percent of Americans said it was one of the biggest factors in their vote. Those who do see it as a decisive issue are more likely to be staunch partisans whose votes were never up to grab to begin with.

But the polling results suggest that a conservative stance on LGBT rights is increasingly a negative for the Republican Party. And while GOP nominee Donald Trump’s past remarks suggest he may not be as much of a hard-liner on the issue as some of his fellow Republicans, his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has made it clear he opposes not only marriage equalitybut also everything from hate crime protections to anti-discrimination measures that would protect LGBT Americans.

In 2015, Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed businesses and individuals to refuse services to gays, lesbians and transgender people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. After weeks of national controversy, he revised the bill ― but not before taking a serious hit to his approval rating in his home state.

Pence is so far an unknown quantity to most Americans. But his entanglement with the RFRA could come back to haunt him during the election. Just 34 percent of the public believes that businesses should be allowed to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll, while 55 percent think businesses should have to provide the same services to all their customers.

Half of Americans polled say they remember the controversy over the Indiana law somewhat or very well. Of that group, 58 percent believe the law was a bad idea, while just 31 percent think it was a good one.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted July 15 through July 17 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.



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