President Barack Obama deliberately avoided the issue of gay marriage on Saturday, just a day after a new Gallup poll revealed that his decision to back same-sex unions will likely hurt him in November.
The poll, conducted on May 10, is the first publicized national survey following the president’s ABC News interview with “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts on Wednesday. It revealed that 51 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s announcement, while 45 percent disapprove.
But among survey respondents who said the president’s decision would sway their vote in November, the news was considerably more negative for the Obama campaign. Nearly one-third of those survey respondents indicated that they were less likely to vote for the president because of his support for gay marriage, as compared to the 13 percent who said they were more likely to vote for the president in November as a result of his decision.
Gallup added that “it is important to note” that “immediate reactions” to the president’s announcement may be misleading, given how emotionally charged the coverage of the issue has been.
“I’m getting chills again,” Roberts said when reminiscing about her interview with Obama.
The Obama campaign raised nearly $1.5 million within hours of the interview, according to BuzzFeed.com.
However, apparently following through on his promise Thursday that “I’m not going to be spending most of my time talking about [gay marriage],” President Obama on Saturday avoided the issue entirely.
The president did not mention his endorsement of gay marriage a single time during his weekly Internet and radio address. Instead, he focused on issues like mortgage relief and the economy.
“Congress should help our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by creating a Veterans Job Corps. Our men and women in uniform have served this country with honor. Now it’s our turn to serve them,” the president said.
Obama on Saturday attended a White House ceremony honoring police officers who demonstrated valor while on the job. He also took a moment to praise Vice President Joe Biden as “somebody who has been fighting on behalf of law enforcement all his life.”
The president has no public appearances scheduled for Sunday.
A Rasmussen Reports tracking poll shows that Republican rival Mitt Romney, who affirmed on Saturday that he believes marriage is exclusively the domain of heterosexual couples, now leads the president by an eight-point margin.
Romney’s former opponent, Rick Santorum, urged Romney this weekend to weaponize gay marriage in the campaign.
“This is a very potent weapon, if you will, for Governor Romney if he’s willing to step up and take advantage of a president who is very much out of touch with the values of America,” Santorum told Arkansas television station KARK.