Gay Marriage, Marijuana Rx, Obama? Yes, DC Says

Support for "progressive, activist agenda" higher in majority-white areas

By Asha Beh
|  Monday, Feb 8, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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Gay Marriage, Marijuana Rx, Obama? Yes, DC Says

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WASHINGTON - JANUARY 17: (AFP OUT) President Barack Obama speaks at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church January 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke during a service in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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Same-sex marriage? Check. Medical marijuana? Check. President Obama? Check.

When it comes to "the progressive, activist social agenda being pursued by the D.C. Council," District residents are on board -- at least in the majority-white areas, according to a Washington Post poll conducted last month. 

The poll responses, along with sky high approval ratings for President Obama, help confirm the city's reputation as one of the most left-leaning jurisdictions in the country.
... But overall support masks racial divides on many of the new policies approved by the council, underscoring that residents in majority-white areas feel far different about a variety of issues than their counterparts in majority-black neighborhoods.

At least 70 percent of black respondents said District voters should be able to vote on the same-sex marriage bill versus 39 percent of white resident. The poll results are in synch with the debate that raged over the bill before it was passed by the Council last year.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of white residents favored legalizing medical marijuana compared to 37 percent of black residents. That legislation was introduced in January and was co-sponsored by nine of the Council's 13 members.

The new poll also found a similar racial divide over the new bag tax law, according to the Washington Post.

Support for the new tax peaks in mostly white wards 2 and 3, and opposition to the tax is widespread in the heavily black wards. Overall, one in three black residents approved of the new tax. 
... But Southeast residents are more likely than those north of the Capitol to say they have reached for a reusable bag (74 percent vs. 63 percent).

But if there's one thing that both whites and blacks agree on, it's Obama. Nearly nine in 10 residents approved of the way the President is doing his job, and six in 10 strongly approve of his performance.    

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