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Obama's Gay Marriage Leap of Faith

President Barack Obama speaks to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

May 9, 2012

President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage undoubtedly reflects a personal evolution in his thinking, as he's said.

But his decision also reflects a hard-headed acknowledgement of the changing nature of the Democratic electoral coalition. Indeed, historians may someday view Obama's announcement Wednesday as a milestone in the evolution of his party's political strategy, because it shows the president and his campaign team are increasingly comfortable responding to the actual coalition that elects Democrats today-not the one that many in the party remember from their youth.

(RELATED: In Reversal, Obama Backs Gay Marriage)

Obama's senior advisers see the announcement as essentially a political wash, although polls now consistently show more Americans support than oppose gay marriage. In its latest national measure, the Pew Research Center found in April that a 47 percent to 43 percent plurality of Americans back same-sex marriage. Other recent national surveys, including those by Gallup and the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, have found majority or plurality support for the idea.


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