Friday, April 12, 2013

ANALYSIS: Polls Show Majority U.S. Support For Marriage Equality

The latest poll (April 5-8, 2013; 1000 American adults; margin of error ±3.1 percentage points) from NBC/Wall Street Journal confirms that support for marriage equality is a national position. In response to the question "Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into same-sex mariages?" 53% of respondents answered "Favor" while 42% answered "Oppose." That is the highest support ever recorded for marriage equality in the poll. Notice that way back in October 2009, opposition outweighed support 49% to 40% and then for some reason the question was not included in regular NBC/WSJ polling for more than three years. I blogged about the poll in March 2012 when support first outweighed opposition for the first time.

Surprisingly, while support for marriage equality has increased, opposition to abortion has also increased.
According to the survey, a combined 52 percent say that abortion should be illegal either with exceptions or without them, versus a combined 45 percent who say it should be legal either “always” or “most of the time.”
The NBC/WSJ poll is just another in a series of polls which indicates majority support for marriage equality nationwide. The March 2013 ABC/Washington Post poll found marriage equality support to be 58% while the March 2013 CBS/New York Times poll found support to be 54%.

However, according to the Williams Institute, support for marriage equality varies widely across the individual states, although in every state support for marriage equality has increased over the last 8 years, with an average increase of 13.6% (I presume that is an actual percentage increase in the percentage, and not a percentage point increase). The geographic variation can be dramatically respresented in this picture:

The Williams Institute report (Public Support for Marriage for Same-sex Couples by State) has a lot more interesting data about the geographical variation that I will digest and blog about at a future date.

Right now the take-away is that the national position on marriage equality is one of majority support, and this can be directly related to the pending cases before the United States Supreme Court, which is being asked to determine the state of marriage equality on a federal (national) scale.

In the NBC/WSJ poll questions about a federal standard and the results are somewhat mixed. 63% of respondents say that the federal government should recognize legally married same-sex couples (i.e. DOMA's Section 3 should be gone) and 56% say there should be a federal standard on marriage equality. However when asked what that federal standard should be, 47% say the federal standard should include a "Definition of marriage that includes same-sex marriages" while 48% say the standard should be to "Define marriage as between one man and one woman." 5% are "not sure." This shows that even though only 42% oppose same-sex couples being able to marry, there are another 6% of folks who want a federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Happily, there is almost no way for the 48% to enact that federal standard into law, but the differential is pretty striking and thus gives succor to the heterosexual supremacists who are opposing progress on LGBT civil rights tooth and nail.

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