Same-sex marriage plans give PM boost in gay vote
The Prime Minister’s backing of gay marriage has also seen support for the Tories rise
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 26 December 2012
David Cameron’s strong support for legalising gay marriage has transformed his standing among gay people since the last general election, according to a survey.
Although Mr Cameron has angered many traditional Conservatives with his stance on the issue, among the gay community he is now regarded as the best prime minister for the country. He is more popular than Ed Miliband, even though most gay people prefer Labour to the Conservatives.
The survey by PinkNews.co.uk, based on a panel of 864 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered voters, found that the Tories have boosted their rating from 11 to 30 per cent since the last election. If there were an election now, 38 per cent would vote Labour, 30 per cent Conservative, 13 per cent Liberal Democrat and nine per cent Green. At the 2010 election, 39 per cent of the panel supported the Liberal Democrats, 27 per cent Labour, 11 per cent the Tories and six per cent the Greens.
When panel members were asked who they would prefer to be prime minister, 47 per cent said Mr Cameron, 42 per cent Mr Miliband and 11 per cent Nick Clegg. While Mr Cameron’s popularity has soared, Mr Clegg’s strong backing for gay marriage appears to have done him or his party little good.
Almost two out of three (64 per cent) panel members said that they either liked the Conservatives a little or a lot more since Mr Cameron proposed introducing same-sex marriage – 48 per cent a little and 16 per cent a lot. Some 34 per cent said it had not changed their opinion of the party.
Benjamin Cohen, the publisher of PinkNews.co.uk, said: “By proposing same-sex marriage, David Cameron has unquestionably improved the standing of the Conservative Party among the gay community. However, what’s most interesting is that he is considerably more popular than his party within our community.
“This perhaps reflects the fact that many of the most vocal opponents of introducing this final act of equality for gay people have been Conservative MPs, some of whom represent and have angered the very people who voted in the poll.”
There were similar results in a separate survey of 1,432 PinkNews readers. Some 42 per cent would now vote Labour, 30 per cent Conservative, 10 per cent Liberal Democrat and 10 per cent Green.
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