Results of this survey extend evidence of a remarkable transformation in public
attitudes. Views on basic social issues often move slowly, if at all. Support for gay marriage,though, has gone from 47 percent to today’s 58 percent in just the last three years – culminating a period of change first endorsed by some state courts, then by some political figures, notably with Barack Obama expressing support for same sex-marriage last May, a position he went on to underscore in his second inaugural address in January.
Gay marriage today is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, and civil unions are legal in eight more states (and were approved last week by the state Legislature in a ninth, Colorado). Thirty-one states ban gay marriage by constitutional amendment.
Sharp differences across groups remain, but there have been large advances across the board. In one striking gap, gay marriage is supported by a vast 81 percent of adults younger than 30, compared with just 44 percent of seniors. But that’s up by more than 10 points in both groups just since March 2011, and by more than 20 points in both groups since 2004, the low point for gay marriage support in ABC/Post polls.
On the political front, 72 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents favor legalizing gay marriage, vs. far fewer Republicans, 34 percent. Still that’s up by 18 points among Republicans since 2004, as well as by 24 and 29 points among independents and Democrats, respectively.The poll attemots to explain the rapid change by noting the correlation between people who support marriage equality and people who believe that homosexuality is "something people choose to be" but "just the way some people are."
The margin of error in this poll is 3.5 percentage points and was conducted March 7-10, 2013 with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 American adults over 18.