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Majority of Voters in New Jersey Support Marriage Equality

Majority of Voters in New Jersey Support Marriage Equality


While New Jersey’s Senate has just voted to pass same-sex marriage and the state House prepares to vote, a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this week shows that 54% of Garden State voters support legalizing same-sex marriage.

According to the poll, less than 40% of those asked said they opposed legalizing same-sex marriage (35%), while just 7% said they took no position on the issue. This is in stark contrast to the last time same-sex marriage was on the legislative roster in 2009 when polls showed that only 46% of voters actually supported legalizing same-sex marriage.

“Over the past two years there has been a clear shift towards support for same-sex marriage innational polling and in New Jersey,” said Rutgers-Eagleton Poll director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “This shift has occurred pretty much across the spectrum, with the exception of the strongly religious and most conservative voters. And while there has been little aggregate change since this reintroduction of the marriage bill we are seeing some ideological polarization as the debate develops.”

The poll, questioning 914 adults from across the state on both landline and cellphones from February 9–February 11, suggests that support for legalizing same-sex marriage cuts across traditional ideological divides, and while self-identifying liberals are the most supportive (81%) and a majority of Democrats say they support the move (63%), a majority of moderates (55%) and independent voters (56%) also say they are in favor.

The poll found that younger voters are overwhelmingly supportive with three-quarters of those under 30 saying they support marriage equality — this trend of support continues across nearly every demographic: 57% of those 30-49 years old support the move, while 55% of 50-64 year-olds also support legalizing marriage equality. Only the oldest demographic registered significant opposition.

Despite the noise the public hears regarding religious opposition to gay marriage, 52% of Catholic voters said they support legalizing same-sex marriage while 43% of protestant voters said they were in favor. However, 66% of self-identifying “born again” Christians said the oppose marriage equality.

Interestingly, 64% of voters who support gay marriage also said they viewed Governor Chris Christie unfavorably. Christie has vowed to veto the legislation, but Democratic lawmakers have said they will try to overturn a veto, pointing out they have nearly two years in which to mount a campaign once the legislation has passed. Christie has since called this “political theater.”

Of further note, around 53% of voters reportedly back Governor Christie’s assertion that the gay marriage legislation should go to a public referendum — perhaps indicating an optimism (whether misplaced or not) that marriage equality could buck a long established trend of defeat and win at the ballot.

“Support for legalizing same-sex marriage runs deep in New Jersey, with limited exceptions,” said Redlawsk. “And while there is no doubt that many of those who oppose the idea feel strongly about it, most New Jerseyans in most demographic groups think it is time to make same-sex marriage legal.”

The New Jersey House is expected to vote on the marriage equality legislation on Thursday.


Take Action: Tell Governor Christie to let same-sex couples marry!


Related Reading:

Let Christie Veto It: NJ Legislators Vow to Legalize Gay Marriage

New Jersey Legislators Back Marriage Equality Bill

NJ Lesbian Couple Wins Pavilion Discrimination Case


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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to alex-s.

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8:21PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Thank for the article.

7:27AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Some refreshing news.

It seems the people of New Jersey disagree with their governor. I'm so SHOCKED ! (LOL)

Looks like Governor Christie might be a one term official.

2:03AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Interesting, thank you.

10:33PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

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10:33PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

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4:30PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Over ride the veto!

3:38PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

You homophobes and religious nuts can beat your tiny little fists agains the U.S. Constitution, but the baseline for constitutional rights in this country is that you need a "rational and reasonable" reason to take someone's rights away, and the argument that "it's a sin in a book written by 14 th century BC desert nomads who believe in an Invisible Bearded Sky God who lives in Outer Space" is simply not going to cut it. The majority voted and it said let them marry.

11:50AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Perhaps he wants the people to force him to sign in Same Sex Marriage into law so it gives him political cover.

9:54AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Steve R. You still suffer from the misguided and outright ignorant position that civil rights are up for a majority vote and that the OPINION of a single extremist religion is allowed to make the laws in THIS SECULAR NATION.

Wake up and smell the Constitution burning under the flames that people like you are lighting to destroy it.
Equality is not a matter of popular vote. It is equal, in all things and for all people.
If you had your way, all civil rights would be up to a vote and the nation would be a very different place:
Women would still have no rights to vote or own property;
Blacks would still be slaves and there would still be segregation of things like bathrooms and schools;
The Irish would still not have opportunities to get work; inter-racial marriage would still be outlawed; Blacks would still be barred from marriage; Asian immigrants would still work for slave wages and be abused by employers; 1st Nations peoples would still be subject to having their children taken from them by the government and taught to ignore their own heritage.......need I go on?
You need to shut up and pay attention to what is written in the US Constitution and it's 27 amendments. You might just learn something about what it really means to be an American.

9:38AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Igualdades de direitos direitos iguais para todos

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