I keep reading and hearing that Obama’s refusal to
admit he’s supported gay marriage all along fully change his mind on gay marriage is that he’s afraid he’ll alienate independent voters. I don’t doubt that’s a concern, but is it really his chief concern? I don’t buy it. More than half of self-described independents favor gay marriage and my guess is far more than that aren’t single issue voters on the question. It seems to me that the people he’s most concerned about are black voters, most particularly black ministers who are key to get-out-the-vote efforts. They tend to be fairly adamantly opposed to gay marriage. Obviously the Obama campaign isn’t worried about losing the black vote. But he is desperately worried about making sure blacks turn out in something close to the huge numbers he got in 2008, particularly in states like North Carolina, Virginia and other swing states. The same goes, to a lesser extent perhaps, for the decidedly Catholic Hispanic vote. Again, Obama will most likely win Hispanics, but he needs to win them in huge numbers. The gay marriage issue doesn’t help that effort.
But even if I’m wrong that this is their chief concern, it seems indisputable that it’s a major concern. Yet, with a few exceptions, it seems the media likes to emphasize the concern about alienating independents.