President Obama's support of gay marriage makes most Americans happy, but it won't change whether they'll support him in November. Meanwhile, all those angry Republican voters are actually the people with the best emotional well-being. Plus some close-ish numbers from Wisconsin and Ohio. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Most Americans -- 60 percent -- say Obama's backing of gay marriage won't change whether they'll vote for him. Even though it won't change their vote, 51 percent approve of it.
Pollster: USA Today/ Gallup
Methodology: Survey of 1,013 adults nationwide on May 10.
Why it matters: Even though public opinion is quickly moving in favor of gay marriage, it's still a controversial issue (see the Ohio race, below). Obama's advisers were worried about the timing of announcing his support for gay marriage, especially given that the Democratic National Convention is in North Carolina, which just passed a gay marriage ban. Though only 13 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Obama, the change has other political benefits: a whole bunch of campaign donations.
Caveat: We should wait to see how things shake out. "It is possible that the impact of Obama's same-sex marriage position will ultimately be greater or lesser, depending on the attention paid to the same-sex marriage issue during the duration of the presidential campaign," Gallup says.
Findings: In the Ohio Senate race, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown leads Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel by 46 percent to 40 percent, while Obama and Romney are essentially tied in the state -- 45 percent to 44 percent.
Methodology: Survey of 1,069 registered voters from May 2 to May 7.
Why it matters: Brown's seat is one of a handful in red states that Republicans can take from Democrats this year. And it's interesting that Brown looks a little stronger against his Republican challenger than Obama does against his. Obama's decision to support gay marriage could hurt him in those red states, Politico's Charles Mahtesian reports, and even Vice President Joe Biden worried that endorsing it could cause a backlash in Ohio. Public Policy Polling finds somewhat similar results: Brown leading Mandel 45 percent to 37 percent, and a majority opposing gay marriage. but the left-leaning firm found Obama ahead by 7 points.
Caveat: Obama is averaging a wider lead in polls -- 4.6 percentage points.
Findings: Obama is leading Romney in Wisconsin 49 percent to 45 percent.
Methodology: Robo-calls to 500 likely voters on May 9.
Why it matters: When typical more liberal Wisconsin voted in a Republican governor and state legislature in 2010, it looked like it might become one of the more unlikely swing states in the 2012 election. Obama won the state by 13 points in 2008, but many Democratic voters stayed home in the midterm elections. But so far this year, polls have shown Obama with a large lead over Romney -- an average of 10 points, according to Real Clear Politics.
Caveat: Rasmussen leans right.
Findings: Americans are more emotionally healthy than they've been at any time in the last four years. It hit bottom last September.
Methodology: Interviews with a random sample of 28,215 adults nationwide from April 1 to April 30.
Why it matters: The poll is based on how Americans describe their daily emotional state, and the pollster saw the biggest improvements in people who did not "worry a lot of the day yesterday." enjoyment is up. We would argue that means its time for the candidates to stop airing downer ads about how sad everyone is and do some more upbeat ones to capture the national mood.
Caveat: Interestingly, the people who should be most angry about the national state of affairs -- Republicans -- report the highest emotional well-being compared to Democrats and independents.
(Photo via Associated Press.)