The poll, which questioned 1,003 adults from Thursday through Sunday, found that 55 percent of Americans believe that marriages of same-sex couples should be recognized as valid by law, and should carry the same rights as “traditional” marriage.
According to USA Today, these numbers are the “highest level of support since Gallup began asking the question in 1996.”
The poll also questioned people’s opinions of the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8.
“Neither one of those decisions is as a legal matter a huge gay rights victory. But it’s the moral message from the Court that these unions are entitled to equal respect … that is probably the lasting legacy of the decisions and is probably going to play a significant role in public opinion,” said Harvard Law School professor and SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein.
The Princeton poll’s findings back Goldstein. Slightly short of a majority, 48 percent of those surveyed, favor the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA.
The poll found that the major demographic groups that do not support same-sex marriage include Republicans (68 percent) and seniors 65 and older (51 percent). Opposition in the South has slipped to under 50 percent.
Respondents were also asked their opinions of SCOTUS’ rulings on affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act; 53 percent of those surveyed believe that affirmative action measures are still needed to “counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities,” and 49 percent opposed SCOTUS’ ruling on the Voting Rights Act, which struck down a crucial provision of the Act that required particular states, mainly in the South, to seek federal approval in order to change election laws.
There is a 43-44 percent approval/disapproval division over the way the Supreme Court is doing its job. This is the lowest level of approval in eight years. Out of those surveyed, 31 percent believe the Court is “too liberal,” 21 percent believe the Court is “too conservative,” and 37 percent believe the Court is “about right.”
Ideology creates a further divide: Two-thirds of Republicans feel the Court is too liberal, but about half of Democrats believe the Court is about right, while the other half feels it is too conservative.
The margin of error for this poll is +/-3.6 percentage points.
Photo: Tedeytan via Flickr.com