Roman Catholic voters are more accepting of gay marriage than other Americans, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
While same sex unions are approved by 48 percent to 46 percent overall, Catholics give them the thumbs-up by 49 percent to 43 percent, the survey from Quinnipiac University found.
“It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Connecitcut university’s polling institute.
“While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years."
The poll found that men in particular have shifted their position. Four years ago they opposed gay marriage by 61 percent to 31 percent. That figure is now down to 50 percent opposition and 43 percent support. Women now back gay marriage by 52 percent to 42 percent.
The biggest opposition among any group is with white Protestants who oppose it 63 percent to 32 percent.
The survey also found that support for legalizing marijuana is gaining ground, with a huge age gap. Voters under 30-years-old support legalization by more than two-to-one — 67 percent to 29 percent — while seniors oppose it by 56 percent to 35 percent.
“It seems likely that given the better than 2-1 majority among younger voters, legalization is just a matter of time,” said Brown.
Women oppose legalization by 52 percent to 44 percent, but men support it by 59 percent to 36 percent.
Other highlights from the wide-ranging Quinnipiac poll include:
• Gen. David Petraeus was right to resign as head of the CIA after his extramarital affair was discovered say 47 percent, while 41 percent say he should have stayed on;
• Exactly the same figures — 47 percent to 41 percent — believe the Obama administration shared details of the killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, as they became available. The minority believes the White House deliberately misled the public;
• Climate change was not responsible for Hurricane Sandy say 53 percent, while 37 percent say it was. Views on this subject were hugely influenced by political affiliation with only 14 percent of Republicans blaming climate change, while 37 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats held that view;
• President Barack Obama’s DREAM policy to allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to stay gets huge support with 70 percent in favor and only 26 percent opposed.
The poll was conducted between Tuesday last week and this Monday among nearly 2,000 registered voters nationwide.
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