Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


Todd Shields

Committee Member

Angie Maxwell

Second Committee Member

Patrick Stewart


African American, Black Church, Obama, Same-sex Marriage


In 2008, African Americans overwhelmingly supported Senator Obama in his bid for the Presidency. Their supported averaged at 95% of African American voters. At the same time that Senator Obama was on the ballet, Prop 8 - legislation designed to amend California's Constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman - was passed with a large majority of African American support. Why did strong Democrats vote in favor of a law that most Democrats rejected? Previous research has concluded it was the role of the Black Church in African American politics that moves the community to a more conservative ideology on social issues. Using polling data from 2010 and 2012, I will look at if President Obama had any impact on views on African Americans to see if he has sway in the same way as the Black Church. The key to these two data sets is that he changed his opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage very publically between these two polls. If he had an effect, a sizable change should show African American views on same-sex marriage.