Congressional Democrats who face close races in November came out against President Barack Obama's support of same-sex marriage this week, citing re-election concerns. The divisive issue, while gaining the president support among his liberal base and LGBT groups, will effect not only his re-election campaign but also those of numerous lawmakers.
Jon Tester (Mont.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) have all either backed away from the president's Thursday statement or have outright opposed him while Rep. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has stopped short of a whole-hearted endorsement.
Tester and McCaskill are the most vulnerable of the group, facing elections in states with Republican-leaning voters, and have come out in opposition to the president's support for equal marriage rights. Montana and Missouri both have constitutional amendments against gay marriage.
Manchin, Casey and Nelson are not as vulnerable but their races could become more divisive closer to election time. The only outlier remains Representative Sherrod Brown (Oh.), who staunchly supported the president's announcement last week despite facing a tough challenge in November.
"What has made America special throughout our history is the constant effort to secure rights for all our citizens," Brown said in a statement. "Our LGBT friends, co-workers and neighbors should have the same rights enjoyed by all Americans."
Even with certain congressional Democrats afraid for their seats, new polling data showed this week a slim majority of voters will not change their vote depending on a candidate's stance on gay marriage. According to a Gallup poll released Friday, 60 percent of Americans won't change their presidential vote due to the announcement.
However, the number is higher among Democrats and Independents than Republicans, with 65 percent of the former and 63 percent of the latter saying their vote won't shift while 52 percent of Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supported the issue. It is this number that has congressional Democrats in Republican-leaning states breaking ranks on the issue, fearing constituents' presidential voting habits will influence their congressional ones.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com