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Quinnipiac’s new poll touches on a demographic divide that is often looked over in favour of the “gender wars” in the 2012 election: the “marriage gap.” Quinnipiac attributes President Barack Obama‘s 46-43 lead over Mitt Romney in its new poll directly to that gap. In the poll, married voters favour Romney by a 51 per cent to 38 per cent margin. On the other side, Obama has an astronomical lead with single voters — they favour him 54 per cent to 34 per cent.
“Although much has been made about the gender gap and how President Barack Obama’s lead among women fuels his campaign, the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Brown’s breakdown actually makes more sense than a simple gender divide. Married voters are more likely to focus on the economy and health care. Single voters, he writes, are more likely to focus on reproductive issues and topics like gay rights.
Married men back Romney by nearly 20 points, and married women prefer Romney 49-42. By contrast, single women prefer Obama by nearly 30 points. With single men, he has a 9-point lead.
The marriage gap also played a huge factor in Obama’s 2008 election victory over John McCain. Obama won among unmarried voters by more than 30 points, while married voters narrowly chose McCain. Almost two-thirds of that electorate was married, so a huge victory in that demographic could prove decisive for Romney.
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