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Sunday, October 23, 2016

A majority of Americans support same-sex marriage today, and that number will continue to increase. But the numbers show that the country is divided on the issue by age and ideology.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted from May 29-June 1, 2014, shows that 56 percent of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, 38 percent oppose it, and 6 percent have no opinion. The poll’s all-time high approval rate was 59 percent in March, and a majority of have supported same-sex marriage since 2011.

Younger people support same-sex marriage far more than their older counterparts — 77 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 68 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds approve. But only 50 percent of 40- to 64-year-olds and 38 percent of seniors are in favor.

The poll shows a clear partisan split as well: 84 of liberals and 62 percent of moderates back same-sex marriage, while only 37 percent of “somewhat” conservative and 22 percent of “very” conservative  respondents endorse it. Of supporters, 67 percent are Democrats, 58 percent are Independents, and 37 percent are Republicans.

Other polls show similar trends. Every poll on the topic conducted in 2014 shows that at least 54 percent of Americans support marriage equality.

Gallup’s latest poll shows that 55 percent think same-sex marriages should be recognized, while 42 percent do not. The last time that a majority (53 percent) opposed recognition in a Gallup poll was in 2010. When Gallup first asked voters that question in 1996, only 27 percent supported recognition of same-sex marriages, while 68 percent opposed it. The 78 percent of 18- to-29-year-olds who now support such recognition is a 37 percent increase compared to 1996, when only 41 percent of the same age group backed it.

The Gallup poll also shows that liberals (82 percent) and moderates (63 percent) are far more likely than conservatives (31 percent) to support recognition of same-sex marriage. The same goes for Democrats (74 percent), Independents (58 percent), and Republicans (30 percent).

As this generation becomes old enough to vote, support for marriage equality will continue to increase. As Nate Silver wrote last year, this is due to both younger people starting to vote and the fact that more Americans have changed their opinion in favor of same-sex marriage than in opposition to it.

Going forward, Republicans will have to change their stance in order to attract younger voters. Many are starting to do so. The Gallup poll shows that Republican support has increased by 4 percent since 2013; as a result, Republican governors such as Rick Snyder (MI), Brian Sandoval (NV), and Susana Martinez (NM) have accepted that public opinion has changed on same-sex marriage, and stopped fighting the issue.

But not all Republicans have accepted the majority of Americans’ support for marriage equality. The Texas GOP’s platform this year endorsed conversion therapy and discrimination against “homosexual behavior,” while Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) recently compared gay people to alcoholics.

Photo: Guillaume Paumier via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • howa4x

    Interestingly true conservative should want government out of people bedrooms. What is a bigger government intrusion in our lives than the government telling us who to marry and how many. Today the conservatives have switched sides with the liberals who usually want government intrusion to correct social ills. Conservatives are the ones forcing vaginal probes, and other restrictions such as legal discrimination against gays. This has more to do with the religious leaning of conservative voters even though a true conservative and strict constructionist would demand the separation of church and state, not school prayer. This is the merry go round of labels. I think most people don’t understand the meaning of what conservative or liberal actually mean.’
    Just like with climate change, republicans are running behind the curve. They seem older and stricter, and less likely to support any change, which is going to happen with them or without them no matter what they do.

    • American values are being slowly striped away, along with our rights and freedoms. I don’t think gays should be discriminated against, but it should not be taught to our children as being normal. Every time you turn on the TV, there is a gay couple. It is not normal behavior and it should not be shoved down our throats constantly as being such.

      • howa4x

        The only American value that is slowly being eaten away is our freedom to choose, by the religious Taliban of this country who are against pre marital sex, by banning contraception, and freedom to marry who we love. They are trying to force their value system down the throats of Americans not the other way around. I’m not Gay and am married but respect everyone’s rights to live the life they want to. TV is responding to their buying public who are the under 30 and who support gay marriage overwhelmingly. If you don’t like it don’t watch it.

        • Hard not to watch it when near every commercial, movie, and program have at least one gay couple. America needs to get back to its basic foundations if we are to have a country left.

          • johninPCFL

            The country’s basic foundation was that the government stayed out of our lives. Commercial broadcast sends out what is popular (i.e. what sells ads) so what would YOU like the government to do? It IS staying out of the media management business.

          • howa4x

            Whose? White Christians? Is that what values you are talking about? You talk about protecting the kids, well here is a news flash, they go to school with gay friends and don’t even think it’s an issue, Only kids in ultra religious schools are not exposed to that. It is the older generation that has the problem, just admit it

        • paulyz

          Why doesn’t a woman have the right to be a prostitute then? If that’s her choice. Where do you draw the line on moral behavior?

          • howa4x

            I think she should. License it and regulate it as any other commerce, like they do in Europe. Immoral behavior is murder, making people work for less than a living wage, taking food out of kids mouths for greedy reasons to preserve tax breaks for corporate jets, income inequality are all immoral. Why don’t you say anything about that and limit it to sex? This is where religion came off the track. Obsession with sexual behavior instead of making people live in poverty or work in hazardous conditions so someone can become wealthy off their misery. Why isn’t that ever a religious issue in this country? Why is greed worshipped? Is that what religion taught you?

          • BillP

            In Nevada they can.

      • frederik_h

        And, who, do you think, determines what is “normal” and what is not? You? People like you ? Who are you to pass any judgement on others? Come on: between 1933 and ’45 it was considered quite normal to harass and kill Jews. Great, eh? In China today (almost 2 billion citizens!) freedom of press and speech are seen as dangerous and inappropriate. Fantastic, eh? Oh, and please tell me, should the “fact” that being gay must not be considered normal, have any dire consequences? Kill ’em?, incarcerate ’em? Your call!

        • paulyz

          Come on, comparing killing Jews to same-sex marriage? Homosexuality is NOT normal, there are male & female for procreation, not sexual perversion. I suppose if you don’t believe in God, or choose not to abide by His Laws, then anything is ok!

      • paulyz

        You got that right kenndeb

    • paulyz

      Maybe the Government should also stay out of religion and bedrooms & stop abortions. What about the “rights” of the unborn?
      You preach fairness and rights for everything weird but not for the LIFE of a human being!

      • howa4x

        So I guess you a against all wars and all forms of murder of adults and children. Are you for taking away all guns to prevent murder? Are you for social programs like food stamps that go to unwed mothers or social welfare? Are you for income support to pay for education ? It is not ok to just say I’m against abortion and not help the struggling mother and child. That is my problem with it. All you want the child to be born and then cut all the programs this family needs. Are you for Medicaid expansion? Probably not it is just a word game so you all think you’ve done something religious. Do the walk just don’t talk the talk.