(WASHINGTON) — Some African-Americans will think twice about voting for President Obama in November after he declared his support for gay marriage, according to Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida.
“I think it’s going to cause an incredible discussion in the black community, because, as you know, on Sundays in the black community the most conservative people in America are in those black churches,” West told ABC News on Thursday.
“I think it may have been a huge miscalculation, especially when you have 41 states that recognize marriage between one man and one woman, and you just came off an incredible loss to them. Sixty-nine percent voted for [the recent same-sex marriage ban] in North Carolina, which is a key swing state he barely won last time,” West said.
He noted that even as African-Americans overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008, gay marriage bans passed in both Florida and California.
African-Americans oppose gay marriage 55 percent to 41 percent, while all poll respondents support it 52 percent to 43 percent, according to an ABC News poll taken in March. While 94 percent of black voters in California supported Obama in 2008, 70 percent also supported the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, according to exit polls.
Nationwide, 95 percent of African-American voters supported Obama, according to exit polls, comprising 13 percent of the national electorate.
West, a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, is one of Obama’s harshest critics, and he criticized the president as forcefully as anyone for his gay-marriage about-face.
The congressman said gay marriage will not be the prime driver of African-American discontent with Obama in November.
“The most important statistic in the African American community is 13 percent unemployment,” West said.
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