An ABCNews/Washington Post Poll taken in March around the time of the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Proposition 8 and Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) tells the story: Since 2004, support for same-sex marriage has increased in every demographic (including Republicans), but none has increased as much as those ages 18–29 where 81% support marriage equality for same-sex couples. Support among Republicans in this age group tops 50%. The RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report released in March took an unvarnished look at what went wrong for the GOP in the 2012 national election, including failures among various demographic groups. Language in the report clearly states why the GOP did so poorly among younger voters:“Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involvingthe treatment and the rights of gays—and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.”
Aside from the youth vote, many GOP conservatives contend that social issues such as marriage can be a wedge issue with African-American and Hispanic voters who tend to be more culturally conservative. Another recent poll by the Benenson Strategy Group and Voter Consumer Research refutes this contention by GOP social conservatives: Hispanic Catholics support marriage equality 54%-35%; African-American non-evangelicals support marriage equality 65%-31%.
It’s time for the RNC—and all Republicans—to take a hard look at the present reality, and adopt a winning strategy for the future.