Poll: Rapid Increase in Support for Gay Marriage


Marriage equality campaigners this week unveiled a bipartisan analysis of more than a decade’s worth of polling data that shows a marked shift in public attitude toward favoring same-sex marriage, and an undeniable acceleration in this trend over the past two years.

The bipartisan analysis, commissioned by marriage equality group Freedom to Marry, was carried out by Joel Benenson, President of Benenson Strategy Group and a leading Democratic pollster, and Dr. Jan van Lohuizen, President of Voter Consumer Research and a leading Republican pollster. The analysis shows that every group analyzed, including older Americans and Republicans, all show upward trends toward acceptance.

The analysis showed that on average support for marriage equality rose about 1% per year over a 13-year period between 1996 and 2009. However, in 2010 and 2011 this figure rose to 5% per year. This is in part due to a generational effect, with voters under 40 supporting the right to marriage by almost 70%. This rise is expected to continue over time.

The study found that the gain in momentum cannot be attributed to generational change alone though, and suggests that where the issue falls on the political spectrum is itself altering and that equal rights for same-sex couples is no longer a purely left-of-center cause.

Indeed, the analysis shows that, since 2006, support for the freedom to marry has risen 15% among seniors. There have also been shifts of 13% among Independents, and 8% among Republicans. This highlights that attitudes are changing, and, says Freedom to Marry founder and President, Evan Wolfson, it’s time that America’s legislators recognize this fact and take action.

“America’s elected officials are lagging behind the American people, a majority of whom have opened their hearts and changed their minds and now support the freedom to marry with accelerating momentum,” said Wolfson in the Freedom to Marry press release. “This authoritative analysis by leading pollsters in both parties will strengthen Freedom to Marry’s federal campaign and help make the political case that supporting the freedom to marry is not only the right thing to do, but the right thing to do politically—on both sides of the aisle.”

“The political center of gravity on the freedom to marry has shifted dramatically since 1996, when Congress first voted on the question, and it’s time for politicians and political advisors to catch up with the change,” said Wolfson. “If the American people can go from 27% support in 1996 to 53% in 2011, with even stronger support among younger Americans across the political spectrum, so can those who seek to lead America and be on the right side of not just history, but politics.”

Democratic pollster Joel Benenson is also quoted as saying, ”The political landscape is changing rapidly,” and adding, “The momentum is clearly in favor of extending the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian Americans, and the generational dynamics suggest this momentum will only continue.”

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Stephen Colbert: It Gets Better! (VIDEO)

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Marc Love.


Jay T O.
Jay T. Stone7 years ago

And I suppose me being Queer is a 'fad' also. Yep ... they keep on tellin me it's because I just haven't met the 'right man' *wink*

Glen P.
Glen P7 years ago

Religion is losing its wicked grip over the thoughts and actions of people, particularly when it comes to treating other people (in all their diversity) with dignity, respect, and equality.

But religion has long thrived and survived on having scapegoats, so you should be asking yourselves who's next on their list of targets?

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L7 years ago

It took Sweden 17 years to go from Registered Partnerships (A C-class marriage) to full and equal marriage and adoption rights. So consider yourself lucky that so many states has already adopted the notion of equal rights. USA is actually a few years ahead, if DOMA is squashed. Keeping my fingers crossed, keep pushing and pressing politicians to do the right thing and informing my friends of what oit's all about. Together we will get equal rights to chose the way our lifes will be, the choice to marry the one we love and to form a family.

Michael MacDonald

great news!

Don Go
Don Go7 years ago

Marriage is just a step lovers want the right to take, and who are we to deny after all?

Times are a-changin'!

Tom Y.
Tom Y7 years ago

A push-poll, surely -- traditional marriage will survive this fad. It's our only avenue of survival, period.

donald baumgartner

Love knows NO boudaries!! GREAT news!!!

Alicia N.
Alicia N7 years ago

This is great news !!!

Linda P.
Linda P7 years ago

Everyone deserves the right to be married to the one they love. There is nothing more wonderful then having a life and family with that special one. Let people live their lives they way they want, it would make a better world.

ELENA D.7 years ago