It is not surprising that Senator Rob Portman is losing support among the Republicans that form his base. Senator Portman announced his support for same-sex marriage recently revealing that his son is gay. Since that time, he has dropped some four percent in his job approval rating. The loss in support comes from a drop of thirteen percent from the Republicans in Ohio.
Forty-one percent of Republican voters now view Portman less favorably because of his shift on marriage equality. Overall, 20% of voters think more favorably while 25% think less favorably. More than half have not changed their minds about the Senator.
These numbers are from Quinnipiac University Polling.
According to the assistant direct of Quinnipiac, Peter Brown, “Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on same-sex marriage has cost him a little support in his Republican base, but has little impact among Democrats and independent voters.” Still, Brown feels that his position could help him in the long run.
Portman and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois are the only two Republicans to support marriage equality. Ohio has a narrow plurality of people who support same-sex marriage.
Portman announced his support after being a very long opponent to marriage equality. According to his adviser, “Rob’s change of heart was driven by a family issue, and clearly had nothing to do with politics or poll numbers. He remains focused on the top issues in the minds of Ohioans – our economy, and Washington’s out of control spending and debt.”
While the nation is marching quickly towards marriage equality support, the Republicans are remaining obstinate about support. This has a large part to do with the fact that much of the GOP machinery is centered in the Religious Right. Unfortunately for the GOP, social issues are less important than they were a decade ago, and support for their positions on marriage equality and abortion are becoming more of a problem than an asset.
The shift in perceptions on these issue is starting to cause major friction within the Republican Party.