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Just 7 percent see gay marriage as top issue in November, poll shows

 

As President Obama spoke at length in a pre-taped interview Tuesday about his decision to back gay marriage, a new poll shows the issue is the top concern for just 7 percent of registered voters. 

A CBS News/New York Times poll showed, as expected, that the economy is far and away the top issue for U.S. voters. 

A whopping 62 percent of those who responded listed it as their most important issue in the upcoming election, with most of those polled saying they think the economy's in bad shape. They were divided on the question of whether the economy is actually improving under Obama -- the largest percentage, 39 percent, said the economy had stayed the same. 

Meanwhile, just 7 percent in the poll listed gay marriage as their top issue. 

That number would seem to align with comments from Republican officials in recent days who've claimed that the gay marriage debate will sway some voters, but the race will continue to turn on the economy.

Obama, in a pre-taped interview which aired Tuesday on "The View," also discussed the political implications of his decision. 

"I think it's very hard to say. There's no doubt that for some folks who have very sincere, legitimate beliefs about traditional marriage ... I think some will say, 'Look, I like Barack, but I just strongly disagree with him on this.'" 

Still, Obama reiterated his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and woman -- saying Congress "is clearly on notice that I think it's a bad idea." 

The CBS News/New York Times survey also showed Mitt Romney leading Obama slightly ahead of the general election, with a 46-43 percent advantage over the incumbent. 

Romney has reiterated his opposition to gay marriage since Obama announced his support for it, but has not hammered the issue on the stump -- despite appeals by some social conservatives to use it as a weapon against the president. 

Obama, meanwhile, has weaved social issues back into his speeches, balancing that with discussion of the economy on the stump. 

The latest poll of 562 registered voters was conducted May 11-13. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.