So question: If the president changes his mind or comes out in favor of some issue (such as President Obama coming out in favor of marriage equality) does his opinion influence public opinion?
This study hypothesized, with regard to the War on Drugs:
It is hypothesized that the more attention presidents give to the policy area of drugs in their state of the union (SOTU) addresses, the more concerned the public becomes with drug use.
Clearly, leaders have the ability to influence the public. Historical examples of cults of personality demonstrate that.
This survey suggests:
The survey’s findings suggest that a well-publicized stance on an education issue taken by a popular president can shift the opinions of a substantial segment of the American public.
So maybe? Maybe Obama’s position on marriage equality will make some people change their minds.
This is post 12/24 by Christina for the SSA blogathon in support of the Secular Student Alliance! Go donate to them!