New Poll: Gay Marriage Support at Record High
A recent poll by ABC News and the Washington Post reveals that public opinion supporting marriage equality has reached a record high, with 58 percent of Americans now in favor of such laws and only one-third believing it should remain illegal.
The new polling numbers show that Americans have drastically changed their views on the issue over the past 10 years. A 2003 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that the same percentage of people that now opposes gay marriage then supported it, just about the same percentage who now support marriage equality then opposed it.
The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also found that most Americans say that the U.S. Constitution "should trump state laws on gay marriage." The results of the poll could impact the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act next week. Additionally, the poll showed that only 24 percent of Americans now believe that homosexuality is a choice, down 40 percent from nearly two decades ago.
Broken down by age, the poll found that young adults (ages 18-29) overwhelmingly supported gay marriage, with 81 percent agreeing it should be legal. A majority of those over 65 said the government should not recognize gay marriage.
It’s probably not all that surprising that members of the two major political parties disagreed strongly. Among Republicans, 59 percent believe gay marriage should be illegal, while 72 of Democrats support same-sex marriage. The poll also revealed that over half of GOPers under 50 backed gay marriage.
The poll was conducted between March 7 and 10 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults.
"Young people are overwhelmingly supportive of gay marriage and, as they come of voting age, have begun to move the needle to their view," The Washington Post noted in an analysis of the results.
The Post added in a cautionary note, "Simply because young people are strongly supportive of allowing gay people to marry doesn’t guarantee that the long-term trend on same sex marriage will continue to bend toward legalization. After all, there is the possibility that as young people age, they will grow less amenable to the idea of gay people marrying."
In an accompanying chart, The Post showed how much support for gay marriage has been increasing among every generation. In 2004, just 25 percent of Baby Boomers were OK with gay marriage but in 2012 that number shot up to 43 percent. The same goes for Gen X’ers: In 2004, slightly more than one-third of respondents backed marriage equality. By 2012, over half did so.
"Combine the fact that young people are heavily supportive of gay marriage and every generation is growing more in favor of legalization as they age and you see why the numbers on gay marriage have moved so quickly - and why they aren’t likely to ever reverse themselves," the Post noted.