"As expected"? Sullivan continues to promote the unfortunate meme that the Black community is more homophobic than the rest of the population. This is a very contestable point.
As expected, one reason Proposition 8, stripping gay couples of marriage equality, is still viable in California is because of strong African-American support. Black Californians back the anti-gay measure by a margin of 20 points, 58 - 38, in the SUSA poll. No other ethnic group comes close to the level of opposition and black turnout is likely to be very high next month.
All this makes it vital, in my opinion, that Barack Obama strongly and unequivocally oppose Proposition 8 in California, rather than keeping mainly quiet as he has done so far. We need him to make an ad opposing it. This is a core test of whether gay Americans should back Obama as enthusiastically as they have in the last month. If he does not stand up for gay couples now, why should we believe he will when he is in office? And if black Americans are the critical bloc that helps kill civil rights for gays, that will not help deepen Obama's governing coalition. It could tear it apart.
Memo to Obama: make an ad. Speak loudly. Defend equality. Defend it when it might actually lose you some votes. Show us you are not another Clinton..
While it is true that Black people are currently 10 points higher in support of Proposition 8 than the entire population in this poll, they are only 6% of the poll sample and thus have an inverse square-root proportionately higher margin of error. In other words if the margin of error is +/- of 3 points for the entire poll of 1000 adults (879 registered to vote). For African Americans this is a sample size of 52 people! That corresponds to a margin of error of about 18-19 points. It is meaningless to look at the cross-tabs of a poll unless those smaller samples have been oversampled to reduce the margin of error to a similar size of the full sample.
Other bloggers like Political Animal Kevin Drum who now blogs at Mother Jones agrees with Sullivan that Obama should promote his opposition to Proposition 8. His commenters (and MadProfessah) disagree.
To me, if there's any chance that promoting his position on Proposition 8 would damage his chances of winning the presidency, then he should defer doing so. That being said there are things his campaign could do to help defeat Proposition 8.
For example by donating $1 million dollars (of his close to $150 million in cash Obama for America has on hand right now) to the California Democratic Party who could donate it to the NO ON Prop 8 campaign.
In addition, Obama will be on Ellen Degeneres' talk show again today, and he should re-iterate his previously announced position of being against Proposition 8, against marriages for same-sex couples and against a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage while he is FOR a repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
He could also cut an ad for the NO ON PROP 8 campaign, which they could release on the final weekend of the election if he is 8-10 points ahead in enough states to guarantee him 270 electoral votes, however it is doubtful (but not completely out of the question) that Obama will be that far ahead on November 1.