Pew: Support for Gay Marriage Jumps Among Democrats

Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 04:39 PM

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Support for gay marriage among Democrats has increased dramatically since 2008 when 50 percent supported it and 42 percent were opposed. Now, 65 percent of Democrats support allowing gays and lesbians to marry while just 29 percent are opposed.

Support for same sex marriage among independents has jumped 7 percent in the last four years from 44 percent to 51 percent and even among Republicans, where a large majority opposes it, support has also inched up. Four years ago, just 19 percent of Republicans supported gay marriage and 73 percent opposed it. Today, 24 percent favor it and 70 percent are opposed.

The data is from the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The poll was conducted June 28-July 9, 2012, among 2,973 adults.

The change comes as Democrats were poised to add gay marriage to their party platform and follows President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage in May.

However, the poll finds that Obama’s endorsement had little effect on public opinion. Obama made his announcement in May and polls for April showed 47 percent of Americans favored gay marriage and 43 were opposed. In June and July polls the numbers were 48 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed.

“A large portion of the growth in acceptance of gay marriage over the past two decades is the result of generational replacement -- the arrival of younger, more supportive generations making up a larger share of the population,” Pew noted.

“But the pace of change in support for gay marriage has increased in recent years across generational lines. Millennials have consistently been the most supportive of gay marriage, but even here the share in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry has jumped from 54 percent to 63 percent since 2008.

Similarly, support is up from 44 percent to 52 percent in Generation X.

“Even among the older Silent generation, which has been the most opposed to allowing gay marriage in recent years, there is increased support. Currently, 33 percent of the Silent generation favors gay marriage, up from 24 percent in 2008.”

Among Baby Boomers, gay marriage is supported by 41 percent, up from 36 percent.

Millennials are those born after 1980, Gen X are those born between 1965 and 1980, Baby Boomers 1946 to 1964, and the Silent Generation was born between 1928 to 1945.




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