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Most Americans support court ruling on gay marriage but not the one on the Voting Rights Act

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Given the growing support among the American populace for same-sex marriage in recent years, it comes as no surprise that a new ABC/Washington Post poll shows majority favor for last week’s rulings on the matter by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, as Jed Lewison notes HERE, poll results regarding the high court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act are somewhat unexpected:

The thing that surprised me the most in the poll was that on the question of voting rights, southerners were actually more opposed to the court’s decision (53 percent opposition) than the country as a whole (51 percent opposition).

Moreover, older people were more opposed to the ruling than younger people. 48 percent of people under 40 opposed the ruling, but 54 percent of 40-64 year olds and 52 percent of people older than 65 opposed it. Basically, people old enough to remember why we passed the Voting Rights Act in the first place are more likely to support it.

Non-whites were more strongly against the ruling than whites, but 48 percent of whites still opposed it, compared with 35 percent who supported it. Only Republicans gave it more support than opposition, and even then it was basically a split—43 percent support and 42 percent opposition. Even conservatives opposed the ruling by a 10-point margin.

The polls can’t change the court’s decision, but numbers like this should encourage Democrats to push aggressively for legislation both to remedy the court’s ruling and also to guarantee a minimum set standards of voting rights on a national basis. With Republicans in the House, it’s obvious that Democrats won’t get everything they ask for, but that shouldn’t stop them from asking. Let the Republicans be the ones to say no—with strong public support for voting rights, there’s no reason for Democrats to negotiate against themselves.

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