A new set of polls from NBC News and Marist College are even more surprising than expected.
The expected parts are that Republican voters don’t like presidential candidates who support things like Common Core, immigration reform, doing something about climate change, or raising taxes on the wealthy.
The surprise part is that opposition to gay marriage will also alienate Republican voters. In the poll, around half of likely GOP primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina said that opposition to gay marriage is either “mostly” or “totally” unacceptable in a candidate. In Iowa, 47% said opposing gay marriage was unacceptable, while in the other two states 52% (a majority) found it unacceptable.
The days when Republicans could use opposition to gay marriage to attract social conservatives are gone. Today, opposition to gay marriage is more likely to hurt a candidate than help them. These numbers have changed dramatically in just the last year, and are likely to continue to change in favor of candidates who support gay marriage.
The problem is that the current candidates have not kept up. Pretty much every aspiring Republican candidate is on record as opposing gay marriage, including relative Republican moderates like Jeb Bush.