You can't fool all the people all the time
The latest CBS/New York Times poll gives Mitt Romney a 3 point lead over President Obama, 46-43%. But it also shows that most Americans see right through Obama's "evolution" on gay marriage and peg it for what it is; a crass politically calculated move.
Most Americans suspect that President Obama was motivated by politics, not policy, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage, according to a new poll released on Monday, suggesting that the unplanned way it was announced shaped public attitudes.
Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed by The New York Times and CBS News since the announcement said they thought that Mr. Obama had made it "mostly for political reasons," while 24 percent said it was "mostly because he thinks it is right." Independents were more likely to attribute it to politics, with nearly half of Democrats agreeing.
The results reinforce the concerns of White House aides and Democratic strategists who worried that the sequence of events leading up to the announcement last week made it look calculated rather than principled.
Mr. Obama, who had said since late 2010 that his position on the issue was "evolving," finally proclaimed his support for same-sex marriage only after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did so first in a television interview.
"If Biden hadn't said something, I don't think he would have said anything either," Larry Gannon, 48, a graphic artist from Norwalk, Calif. and an independent, said in a follow-up interview.
Obama's position on same sex marriage has always been a political football. In 1996, he declared his support for gay marriage while running for state senate in the hyper liberal Hyde Park district of Chicago. That support stood until Obama decided to run for president when the campaign attributed his affirmative questionnaire answer on gay marriage in 1996 to an over eager staffer.
It has always been a matter of timing for the president; when to announce his support? He wanted to do it for maximum impact but Biden forced his hand and he ended up scrambling.
The voter has become a lot more skeptical of Obama, a lot more cynical of his motives over the last 3 years. That doesn't mean they will vote against him. But it means they are a lot more realistic about the man and not so enamored of his personae.