Top GOP Pollster’s Advice: Drop Anti-Gay Stances
A prominent Republican pollster is urging the party to jump aboard the gay equality bandwagon before it’s too late.
Last July Jan van Lohuizen co-authored a memo with Democratic pollster Joel Benenson. Together they reviewed polling data that shows more and more Americans approving of marriage equality, across all demographic groups, and at an accellerating pace.
But they left the political recommendations to the group that commissioned the analysis, Freedom to Marry, which characterized it as proof it’s becoming safer for politicians to come out for same-sex marriage.
But a lot has changed in a year. NOW, Van Lohuizen is suggesting that Republican politicians come out in favor of legal recognition for same-sex couples if they don’t want to risk getting stranded by the shifting political tides.
As last year, Van Lohuizen’s argument rests on polling data–now updated–that shows “support has grown at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down.” Backing for gay marriage is growing among Republicans as well as Democrats. He notes that majorities of Republicans support SOME form of recognition for gay couples, as well as employment protections, and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
So Van Lohuizen is now recommending pro-equality talking points for GOP lawmakers and candidates. They include reassurance that “this is not about giving anyone extra protections or privileges.” Wrapping LGBT rights in conservative bunting: Language about “personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability,” and most notably adopting former vice president Dick Cheney’s formulation that “freedom means freedom for everyone.”