(WOMENSENEWS)— This picture of President Barack Obama riding a unicorn, complete with rainbows sprouting from his hands, has garnered over 12,000 shares and about another 8,400 likes on Jezebel’s Facebook page.
The term “gay marriage” was mentioned 95,000 times in the past 24 hours, peaking at about 3:30 pm on May 9 with over 41,000 mentions, according to topsy.com, an online analytics website.
And the president’s own tweet – “Same-sex couples should be able to get married” – was retweeted over 57,000 times, as of Thursday afternoon, according to the website retweetingobama.com.
While mentions and retweets don’t automatically signal support, the young people who primarily use social networks largely favor same-sex marriage.
Americans overall are more accepting of legalizing same-sex marriage than in previous years but are still divided; 47 percent in favor with 43 percent opposed. Those aged 18-29, by contrast, support same-sex marriage 65 percent to 30 percent, according to the Pew Research Center’s April 2012 poll.
Speculation now sizzles about whether this will help or hurt Obama at the polls in November. But now that he’s “out,” that favorable ratio could re-energize Millennial voters who would be voting for the first president ever to favor same-sex marriage.
Perhaps the best indication that it could re-energize Obama’s young base can be found in the Republican leadership’s restrained reaction.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, when asked whether the subject of same-sex marriage was important, simply said he was going to focus on jobs and the economy, reported the New York Times May 10. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made no mention of the issue in his weekly floor speech.
BIO: Samantha Kimmey is a writer in Brooklyn, N.Y. covering women and politics this election season.