As I’ve noted before, polls are snapshots of what the surveyed population thinks at a given point in time.

Because people’s views are rarely “settled” on matters of continuing controversy, as they take in new information, they change their minds about issues.

Thus, recent polls indicate people are rethinking their views on social issues such as abortion, and to some extent on same-sex marriage (both of which, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, are fully legal anywhere in the nation).

And they may be changing their minds – or perhaps simply increasing their uncertainty – about the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

First, the social issues:

 There have been four major polls surveying Americans’ views on marriage, conducted by The Washington Post/ABC News, Ipsos/Reuters, Gallup and The Associated Press/GfK, since the court handed down its 5-4 decision supporting same-sex marriage June 26.

As the Post’s headline put it, “Liberals have won a series of victories on social issues. Most Americans aren’t thrilled about it.”

The Post/ABC poll, published July 21, asked the generic question, “Would you describe yourself as comfortable or uncomfortable with the country’s overall direction on social issues these days?”

Fully 63 percent said they were “uncomfortable,” 42 percent “strongly so.” Those saying “comfortable” had a 34 percent response, with just 14 percent saying they felt “strongly” about the issue.

Ipsos/Reuters and Gallup found current majority support for same-sex marriage declined slightly when compared to earlier polls.

But, as the AP noted July 18, its new poll showed a much larger decline in support for same-sex marriage, which dropped 6 percent after the court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The poll showed approval of the decision at 39 percent, with disapproval running 41 percent. While that’s within the poll’s 3.4 percent margin of error, it hardly shows support for same-sex marriage is “overwhelming.”

That’s not going to change its legality, but it shows there remains considerable support for resistance to efforts to violate the religious freedoms of those Americans who disagree with it.

Indeed, when the poll asked for support in “a conflict between religious liberties and protecting the rights of gays and lesbians,” respondents picked “religious liberties” by a 56 percent-39 percent margin.

Regarding abortion, a recent Gallup poll (taken May 6-10) gave abortion supporters a bit of a boost when it showed 50 percent of respondents saying they were “pro-choice” as opposed to 44 percent calling themselves “pro-life.”

But digging down, other responses showed 55 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be illegal “in all circumstances” or legal “in only a few circumstances.” Two percent had no opinion, and 43 percent favored it in “all” or “most” circumstances.

So, all the new poll proved is that a lot of Americans don’t know what “pro-life” and “pro-choice” really mean.

And it should get more interesting when we can see objective polls that were taken after the news broke about Planned Parenthood’s “crunchy” baby-parts chop shops.

Finally, let’s see where Hillary Clinton stands with potential voters – which is rapidly becoming the question of where Sen. Bernie Sanders stands.

A few weeks ago, I noted that the Vermont socialist would see the inside of the Oval Office only if he RSVP’d an invitation for a visit, but now things are looking somewhat chancier for Clinton, too.

Under the headline “Sanders surges, Clinton sags in U.S. favorability,” Gallup said July 24 that “… Sanders’ favorable rating among Americans has doubled since Gallup’s initial reading in March, rising to 24 percent from 12 percent as he has become better known. Hillary Clinton’s rating has slipped to 43 percent from 48 percent in April.”

Here’s the kicker: “At the same time, Clinton’s unfavorable rating increased to 46 percent, tilting her image negative and producing her worst net favorable score since December 2007.”

And The Washington Post published a story July 26 titled, “Why Hillary Clinton’s numbers are down in the states that matter,” saying that in a NBC/Marist poll, “In Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton’s net favorability – those who view her positively minus those who don’t – was negative-23 and negative-20, respectively.”

The Post added that those findings matched “what Quinnipiac found in Colorado, Iowa and, to a lesser extent, Virginia.”

Now, inspectors general from the State Department and the intelligence community are asking for a “security investigation” into the presence of secret information in Clinton’s private emails as secretary of state.

They said July 24 the emails were “not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather, (they) contained classified information when they were generated and, according to (intelligence community) classification officials, that information remains classified today.”

Clinton denied that the very next day, but you can see why you can’t blame Democrats if the names John Kerry, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren keep coming up in conversation.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

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