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Gay marriage support hits new high in WP-ABC poll; reaches 81% among young adults

March 18, 2013

Public support for gay marriage has hit a new high as Americans increasingly see homosexuality not as a choice but as a way some people are, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll shows that 58 percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36 percent say it should be illegal. Public attitudes toward gay marriage are a mirror image of what they were a decade ago: in 2003, 37 percent favored gay nuptials, and 55 percent opposed them.

The Supreme Court takes up the issue of gay marriage next week, and nearly two-thirds of all Americans say the matter should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution, not with each state making its own laws.

Among young adults age 18 to 29, support for gay marriage is overwhelming, hitting a record high of 81 percent in the new poll. Support has also been increasing among older adults, but those aged 65 years old and up remain opposed, on balance: 44 percent say same-sex marriage should be legal; 50 percent say illegal.

A slim majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents under 50 years old now support gay marriage. Nearly seven in 10 of those aged 65 and up oppose it, although that is down from more than eight in 10 just four years ago.

There has been a related movement in public opinion about homosexuality. Fully 62 percent of Americans now say being gay is just the way some people are, not something people choose to be.

About 20 years ago, fewer than half of the public said so. In the current data, about three-quarters of those who do not see homosexuality as a choice support gay marriage, with most supporting it “strongly.” More than two-thirds of those who see it as a choice oppose gay marriage, with almost all intensely against it.

Currently, gay marriage is legal in only nine states and the District of Columbia, but public views are more similar than not across state lines. In the states that allow gay marriage, 68 percent say such same-sex marriages should be legal, but so too do 56 percent of those in states where the practice is not legal.

Intensity on the matter is, however, different in those states. In places where gay marriage is legal, 52 percent feel strongly that it should be. That falls to 39 percent feeling strongly that it should be legal in states where it currently is not.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted March 7 to 10, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The margin of sampling error for the full survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 1203/18/2013

The change in public opinion on this issue has been jaw-dropping. It's been a tsunami. Obama coming out in favor of gay marriage last year seemed to make it okay in the mind's of many.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 103/18/2013

Optimistic, although polling statistics on this issue are notoriously fickle and unreliable. The poll had a good sample size (1,001), but it really all depends on what questions are asked and how.

The question in this poll was, "Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?"

From our perspective, that is the best way it can be phrased.

If a poll was conducted with the same participants, but the question asked "Do you believe homosexuals should be allowed to get married?", which uses the unpopular term 'homosexual' and the word 'allow', which doesn't insinuate a 'right', the response would be lower.

Further, if the question was multi-part and included the option of civil unions instead of marriages, you would see the "Yes" answer for marriage equality go down while more people supported merely civil unions.

I think these types of polls are generally a better reflection of public support for civil unions, rather than any reliable support for gay marriage at the ballot box.

However, in the current context of next month's SCOTUS hearings on marriage equality, these poll results could not come at a better time, and could help Justice Kennedy, and possibly Roberts, decide for gay marriage, as they are hesitant to get ahead of public opinion.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 203/18/2013

Remember 2004 when it seemed UNTHINKABLE that we would ever be this close? Incredible.

And to all the cunts who argued with those of us who insisted that the President's leadership and "coming out" on this issue was necessary and would make a difference: told ya so.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 303/18/2013

What I had thought would happen seems to have occurred, but as with everyone else, I'm taken aback by the speed of the avalanche: there's basically not much more of the "I have no problem with civil unions, and same sex couples should be recognized, but I'm squeamish on the actual 'marriage' deal" crowd; about 1/3 of the population are either elderly and/or religious fanatics, mostly living in very red areas, who'll never yield.

If folks in Ohio are optimistic about getting marriage there (absent a Supreme Court victory June 30th), then the NOMmies are pretty much toast.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 403/18/2013

And even if the SCOTUS doesn't go our way, r2, we only need 50% plus one to undo state amendments and pass equality.

It seems we're well on our way in most states imho. It will be a loooong time in the former slave-and-segregation states, but imho, the rest of the states will pass it within the next 10 years and then there would eventually be another supreme court case that will bring the slave-and-segregation states in line.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 503/18/2013

NBC News just reported this data with the news of Hillary Clinton coming out in support.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 603/18/2013

Will this make any difference in the rate of those who are out of the closet? At present it hovers around in the area of 2 to 3 per cent.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 703/18/2013

I don't think so r1. I think most are just sick of the debate and realize there are other more important issues then denying gays marriage rights.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 803/18/2013

It's only a matter of time before most straight men will want to have gay sex.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 903/18/2013

[quote]Will this make any difference in the rate of those who are out of the closet?

Hopefully it will persuade Taylor Lautner & Patrick Schwarzenegger to come out. ; )

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 1003/18/2013

Why doesn't that old lesbian, Barbara Mikulski, come out? What the hell is she waiting for?

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 1103/18/2013

Total numbers, not just young people, will need to reach 80% to eliminate the possibility of patch work legislation throughout the states. Right now, a solid majority of republicans still oppose marriage equality and for that matter, gays altogether. If we wait on the legislative process, much of the republican party will have to die out before there is real change. That would be another 20 years or so.

by 2013 Poll Trollreply 1203/18/2013
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