Poll: Obama’s equal marriage support not moving divided public

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US President Barack Obama’s recent declaration in favour of marriage equality for gay couples has not tipped public opinion towards or against the move or his handling of the issues, a recent poll shows.

An Associated Press-GfK survey released today showed the American public was still split on the issue of whether gay couples should be allowed an equal right to marriage.

More of Obama’s younger, liberal and Democrat supporters were strongly in favour of him than before the announcement, however.

42 percent of just over a thousand Americans polled opposed equal marriage in their state, 40 percent supported it and 15 percent were neutral, with a margin of error of 4 percent.

A year ago an AP-NCC poll found 45 percent opposed equal access for gay and straight couples while 42 percent supported it and 10 percent were neutral.

Asked which candidate they believed would do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, regardless of their voting intentions, 52 percent sided with Obama. 36 percent chose Romney with 12 percent either unsure or more trusting of neither.

Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to endorse equal marriage rights for gay couples last month, joining former Democract presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton