Good news, bad news in culture-war poll

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS IN CULTURE-WAR POLL…. CNN released the results of an interesting poll (pdf) today, gauging public attitudes on some of the hot-button cultural issues that have been in the news of late. Some of the results were more encouraging than others.

Let’s start with the bad news. The poll asked, for example, about the Republican drive to repeal at least part of the 14th Amendment.

As you may know, the Constitution says that all children born in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens regardless of their parents’ status. Would you favor or oppose a Constitutional amendment to prevent children born here from becoming U.S. citizens unless their parents are also U.S. citizens?

Favor 49%
Oppose 51%
No opinion 1%

That’s depressingly a high number for a basic American principle. Looking through the crosstabs, self-identified Democrats oppose a new amendment by a wide margin (61%-39%), Republicans are nearly as strong in the other direction (40%-58%), and Independents are evenly split. Only one region — the South — has more supporters of an amendment than opponents.

As you may know, a group of Muslims in the U.S. plan to build a mosque two blocks from the site in New York City where the World Trade Center used to stand. Do you favor or oppose this plan?

Favor 29%
Oppose 68%
No opinion 3%

Opposition spanned genders, races, age, income levels, party ID, regions, and education levels. Literally the only constituency in this poll that favors the Cordoba House are self-identified liberals, and even within this group, it was close — 51% to 45%.

That’s the bad news, and it reflects the kind of intolerance that’s often associated with times of economic distress. There is, however, some good news in the poll.

Do you favor or oppose a bill in which the federal government would provide 26 billion dollars to state governments to pay for Medicaid benefits and the salaries of public school teachers or other government workers?

Favor 60%
Oppose 38%
No opinion 2%

In other words, the public is broadly on board with a Democratic agenda item that nearly every Republican in Congress fought to kill.

Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?

Yes 52%
No 46%
No opinion 2%

That’s pretty amazing, and marks a rather dramatic rise in the level of support for marriage equality. There are clear partisan differences — a clear majority of Dems and Indys support, a clear majority of Republicans oppose — but perhaps the most striking result was the gender gap.

In all, women support same-sex marriage by an overwhelming margin (67%-32%), while men oppose it by a similar margin (37%-61%). It’s the widest gender gap on any of the other questions in the poll.