What do you get for supporting your gay son? In the case of GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a drop in the polls.
Portman announced last month that he was supporting marriage equality after realizing that he wanted his son Will to be able to marry. (The message there: no gay son, no hope.) Fellow Republicans were conspicuously silent about Portman’s announcement, but it’s clear Republican voters are unhappy with Portman’s move to the right side of history.
According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, Portman’s support among GOP voters in Ohio dropped from 63 percent to 57 percent in just six weeks, while his unfavorable rating jumped from a mere 8 percent to 21 percent, a 2.5 fold increase. There’s just one reason for the drop: marriage equality.
Portman has a few things going in his favor. He’s not up for reelection until 2016, and the most vociferous opponents of marriage equality tend to be older and have shrinking numbers as time passes (because they are dying). Still, for anyone looking for an object lesson in why Republicans are leery of changing their views on marriage, Portman’s polling numbers provide one obvious answer.