Politics: Congress

Weiner: ‘Today I’m Announcing My Resignation’

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June 16, 2011, 10:37 a.m.

Con­duc­ted 9/30-10/5 by Mar­ist Col­lege; sur­veyed 829 RVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.4% (re­lease, 10/8).

Obama As POTUS

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 9/16 6/24 3/29 2/3 12/7 Ap­prove 43% 74% 12% 35% 37% 49% 45% 44% 46% 44% 46% Dis­ap­prove 50 20 85 54 55 45 50 45 43 47 44

Fav/Un­fav

- All Dem GOP Ind 9/16 6/24 B. Obama 50%/47% 80%/16% 15%/83% 44%/53% 49%/48% 50%/43%

Do You Think Obama’s Ap­proach To Solv­ing The Prob­lems Fa­cing The Coun­try Should Be Giv­en More Time, Or Do You Think His Ap­proach Will Not Solve The Prob­lems Fa­cing The Coun­try?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom Should be giv­en more time 51% 81% 20% 42% 47% 55% Will not solve prob­lems 45 15 76 54 50 41

Do You Think The Cur­rent Eco­nom­ic Con­di­tions Are Mostly Something Obama In­her­ited, Or Are They Mostly A Res­ult Of His Own Policies?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 9/16 In­her­ited 61% 86% 28% 60% 61% 62% 59% Policies 33 10 65 34 34 33 35

How En­thusast­ic Are You About Vot­ing In The Elec­tions In Nov.?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 9/16 Very en­thu­si­ast­ic 36% 28% 51% 32% 39% 32% 33% Some­what en­thu­si­ast­ic 34 41 29 31 34 34 40 Not too en­thu­si­ast­ic 21 22 12 27 19 23 19 Not en­thu­si­ast­ic at all 9 9 8 11 8 11 8

How Much Have You Heard About The Cong. GOP­ers’ Pledge To Amer­ica?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom A great deal 13% 12% 17% 11% 14% 13% A good amount 22 18 27 21 26 17 Not very much 38 42 37 36 37 40 Noth­ing at all 25 26 17 31 22 29

Are You More/Less Likely To Vote For A Can­did­ate For Con­gress Who Sup­ports The GOP­ers’ Pledge To Amer­ica?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom More likely 39% 15% 74% 37% 41% 37% Less likely 39 68 8 32 36 41 No dif­fer­ence 7 3 5 13 9 5

Do You Think The Way Things Are Done In Gov’t Need Ma­jor Changes/Need Minor Changes/Do Not Need To Be Changed?

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom Need ma­jor changes 74% 65% 79% 80% 75% 73% Need minor changes 17 27 13 9 16 18 Do not need to be changed 1 1 1 3 1 2

(For more from this poll, please see today’s Mc­CLATCHY-MAR­IST WH ‘12 story.)

It’s un­likely that same-sex mar­riage is go­ing to push the eco­nomy out of the dom­in­ant role in this elec­tion. In­deed, short of a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al in­cid­ent, it is un­likely that any oth­er is­sue will dis­place the eco­nom­ic ones. But gay mar­riage was the most dis­cussed is­sue last week. The most re­mark­able thing was not Pres­id­ent Obama’s an­nounce­ment that he would em­brace same-sex mar­riage, even if it wasn’t ex­actly pre­med­it­ated. In­stead, it was a memo from a very prom­in­ent and well-re­spec­ted Re­pub­lic­an poll­ster sug­gest­ing that his party should treat the is­sue with con­sid­er­ably more cau­tion than it has in the past.

(MAP: Where Is Same-Sex Mar­riage Leg­al?)

Jan van Lo­huizen worked for two of the three pi­on­eers, Lance Tar­rance and Bob Teeter, in Re­pub­lic­an polling (the oth­er was Dick Wirth­lin). In 1986, van Lo­huizen served as polling dir­ect­or for the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ori­al Com­mit­tee. He has long been Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell‘s poll­ster. He was also the prin­cip­al poll­ster for George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 pres­id­en­tial cam­paigns and was one of the key poll­sters in­volved in Mitt Rom­ney’s 2008 cam­paign. Only the most wired-in polit­ic­al op­er­at­ives and re­port­ers know him. That is not by ac­ci­dent. Van Lo­huizen has al­ways worked to keep a low pro­file. He doesn’t have a self-pro­mo­tion­al bone in his body and thus is far more giv­en to un­der­state­ment than to ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

That’s why his May 11 memo to party of­fi­cials is all the more re­mark­able. Van Lo­huizen starts off by re­view­ing the state and dir­ec­tion of polling on same-sex mar­riage. He points out that sup­port grew at about 1 per­cent­age point a year up to 2009 but has “ac­cel­er­ated” to a 5-per­cent­age-point growth rate since 2010, point­ing to the late-Feb­ru­ary/early-March NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al poll that shows sup­port­ers out­num­ber­ing op­pon­ents by 49 per­cent to 40 per­cent. (A USA Today/Gal­lup poll found 50 per­cent say­ing same-sex mar­riages should be val­id and 48 per­cent say­ing they should not). Van Lo­huizen notes that sup­port for gay mar­riage has in­creased across the board, al­though ob­vi­ously Demo­crats are more sup­port­ive than Re­pub­lic­ans. While young­er voters are more sup­port­ive than older ones, he points out that “all age groups are re­think­ing their po­s­i­tions.” Van Lo­huizen em­phas­ized: “This is not about a gen­er­a­tion­al shift in at­ti­tudes; this is about people chan­ging their think­ing as they re­cog­nize their friends and fam­ily mem­bers who are gay or les­bi­an.”

(PIC­TURES: Timeline of Obama’s Chan­ging Views on Same-Sex Mar­riage)

The memo ar­gues that ma­jor­it­ies of Re­pub­lic­ans and Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing voters “sup­port ex­tend­ing ba­sic leg­al pro­tec­tions to gays and les­bi­ans.” Such sup­port in­cludes “pro­tect­ing gays and les­bi­ans against be­ing fired for reas­ons of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion; pro­tec­tion against bul­ly­ing and har­ass­ment; re­peal of “˜don’t ask, don’t tell’; right to vis­it part­ners in hos­pit­als; pro­tect­ing part­ners against loss of home in case of severe med­ic­al emer­gen­cies or death; leg­al pro­tec­tion in some form for gay couples wheth­er it be same-sex mar­riage or do­mest­ic part­ner­ship (only 29 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans op­pose leg­al re­cog­ni­tion in any form).”

Van Lo­huizen urges GOP can­did­ates to un­der­stand that “people who be­lieve in equal­ity un­der the law as a fun­da­ment­al prin­ciple, as I do, will agree that this prin­ciple ex­tends to gay and les­bi­an couples; gay and les­bi­an couples should not face dis­crim­in­a­tion, and their re­la­tion­ship should be pro­tec­ted un­der the law. People who dis­agree on the fun­da­ment­al nature of mar­riage can agree, at the same time, that gays and les­bi­ans should re­ceive es­sen­tial rights and pro­tec­tions, such as hos­pit­al vis­it­a­tion, ad­op­tion rights, and health and death be­ne­fits.”

Go­ing fur­ther, van Lo­huizen ar­gues, “This is not about giv­ing any­one ex­tra pro­tec­tions or priv­ileges; this is about mak­ing sure that every­one — re­gard­less of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion — is provided the same pro­tec­tions against dis­crim­in­a­tion that you and I en­joy.”

He goes on to say that this is con­sist­ent with con­ser­vat­ive prin­ciples: “As people who pro­mote per­son­al re­spons­ib­il­ity, fam­ily val­ues, com­mit­ment, and sta­bil­ity, and em­phas­ize free­dom and lim­ited gov­ern­ment, we have to re­cog­nize that free­dom means free­dom for every­one. This in­cludes the free­dom to de­cide how you live and to enter in­to re­la­tion­ships of your choos­ing, the free­dom to de­cide how you live without ex­cess­ive in­ter­fer­ence of the reg­u­lat­ory force of gov­ern­ment.”

The poll­ster is not ar­guing mor­al­ity or pub­lic policy. He is, however, sug­gest­ing his party re­cog­nize that it has staked out po­s­i­tions on this con­stel­la­tion of is­sues that fly in the face of rather rap­idly chan­ging pub­lic at­ti­tudes. Not un­like warn­ings from oth­er strategists about Re­pub­lic­an po­s­i­tions and rhet­or­ic that have hurt them badly with the grow­ing Latino vote, the GOP here risks be­ing on the wrong side of an is­sue where the world is mov­ing in a dif­fer­ent way.

To be sure, polit­ic­al parties are not sup­posed to be weath­er vanes, chan­ging whenev­er the wind  blows in a new dir­ec­tion. When they choose to fly in the face of evolving pub­lic at­ti­tudes, though, they need to think about it long and hard; they need to de­cide if it’s really worth it and con­sider that times might have changed.

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