Washington (ANTARA News) - Most Americans believe President Barack Obama came out in favor of gay marriage for political reasons rather than because he thought it was the right thing to do, a poll made public Tuesday has found.

The New York Times/CBS News poll found that a majority of voters said the issue would not affect the way they vote, but the public remains deeply divided over same sex marriage nonetheless.

Obama, who has long maintained he was "evolving" on the issue, finally came out in support of gay marriage last Wednesday after Vice President Joe Biden did so in a television interview.

Asked whether Obama took the step for political reasons or because he thought it was right, 67 percent said it was for political reasons. Only 24 percent said he did it because it was the right thing to do.

The New York Times said independents were more likely than Democrats to think the president was politically motivated, but nearly half of Democrats agreed.

"He believes it will help him win the election," Holly Wright, a 67-year-old independent from Virginia, was quoted as saying. "In other words, say what the majority of the people want to hear."

Still, only 16 percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage, and 26 percent said it would be less likely to vote for him on account of it.

Only seven percent said gay marriage was the most important issue to them, ranking way below the economy and jobs (62 percent), the deficit (11 percent), and health care (9 percent) as the top issue for voters.

The survey found that 38 percent of Americans believe gay couples should be allowed to marry, and 24 percent said they should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry.

Thirty-three percent opposed any legal recognition for a gay couple`s relationship. Opposition to gay marriages rose to 51 percent when the civil union option was dropped, the Times said.


Editor: Ade P Marboen
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