Tuesday, May 08, 2012

POLL: Majority of U.S. Supports Marriage Equality

For the second year in a row, the Gallup polling institution has shown that support for marriage equality is a majority position in the United States. With a margin of error of ±3 points, the latest national Gallup poll conducted May 3-6, 2012 of 1,024 American adults shows that 50% think same-sex marriage should be legalized, while 48% think it should not be legal. In 2011, the numbers were 53% in support and 45% in opposition, which was outside the margin of error; the difference has decreased from +8 to +2.

The variations   in subgroups of support for marriage equality is striking:
An astonishing 74% of Republicans think marriage equality should not be legal, a much more strongly held position than the 65% of Democrats who feel that it should be legal. It is also important to note that Independents more closely resemble Democrats on this issue than Republicans.

David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement notes that these numbers show that Republicans are actually growing more anti-gay (in 2011 28% of Republicans supported equal marriage rights compared to only 22% in the 2012 poll). Democrats have moved from 56% support in 2010 to 69% last year with a slight drop to 65% now.

It's easy to see how anti-gay positions on marriage equality is correlated with religious belief:
For people who have "no religious identity" (read agnostic or atheist) a whopping 88% support marriage equality and for people who "attend religious services seldom or never" 67% support legal same-sex marriage. People who "attend religious services weekly" think same-sex marriage should not be legal by a 67-31 margin.

I wish Gallup (and other polling organizations) would ask a question about whether (and how many) respondents understand we are talking about civil marriage licenses issued by the state and that would legalizing marriage equality would not force any religious institution to perform same-sex marriages.

Or asking the question "What are you protecting marriage from" (and see what their responses are). Almost certainly it would involve God and The Bible. The followup question would be "Why do you think that the state should follow your religion's view of what marriage is"?

Anyone got $50,000 to spare to run this poll?

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