Gay marriage will not decide the 2012 election unless either major party candidate makes it the focus of his campaign. The one that does that will indeed decide the election — for his opponent.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for the record supports gay marriage; the presumptive Republican opposes it.
Ed Morrissey contends that the manner in which the Democratic candidate came out for gay marriage could hurt him:
When a President goes out of his way to support a position that state after state opposes — same-sex marriage — it’s not going to have a positive result on polling. It helps even less when (a) no one really believed Obama’s stated former position, and (b) the President has to get pushed into telling the truth, by his own admission, by a Vice President stumbling his way off the reservation. No matter what the White House wants to claim as courage in this decision, it hardly looks like leadership.
It goes to Obama’s approach to the issue. People do see it as a pandering political move. This may excite a lot of left-of-center, but most were already favorably disposed to the Democrat anyway. This decision will, to be sure, help in Obama’s fundraising — the likely reason for the sudden shift.
The bottom line is that, cultural issues in general (including gay marriage) “rank low”, as Morrissey reports, on voters’ lists of priorities. If either candidate dwells on the issue, voters may wonder about his commitment to address the nation’s more pressing problems.