Last week, on the heels of Obama’s announcement that he supports gay marriage, NPR interviewed the President of the Pew Research Center, Andrew Kohut, about trends in American support for the issue. Kohut explained that American opinion has changed dramatically, and unusually, in a very short time. In 1996, for example, 27% of people supported gay marriage (65% opposed). This “really didn’t change very much” for a while. In 2004, when Republicans mobilized the issue to get conservatives to the polls, 60% still opposed it. But today, in the space of less than a decade, we have more people supporting gay marriage than opposing it. Some polls show the majority of Americans believe that we should have the right to marry someone of the same sex.
This trend is driven, in part, by young people replacing the old, but focusing on this overshadows the fact that essentially all Americans — of every stripe — show higher support for gay marriage than they did a decade ago. Both men and women and people of all races, political affiliations, religions, and ages are showing increased support for gay marriage. This is a real, remarkable, and rare shift in opinion:
Opinion by age:
Opinion by religion:
Opinion by political party:
Opinion by political orientation:
Opinion by race:
Opinion by gender:
Via Montclair SocioBlog.
Legolewdite — May 13, 2012
Very hopeful news! Then, I've never underestimated the ability of my fellow Americans to become educated very quickly about those matters just a few years previous they were relatively ignorant of. When I was 9, very few believed AIDS even existed, but by the time I was 12, it was a nationally acknowledged crisis being addressed everywhere from Middle School to episodes of 21 Jump Street. I suppose all it takes is the national will to continue the conversation, although it's still worrisome that such education initiatives also can be, and have been, used to promote less progressive agendas as well...
farflungfran — May 13, 2012
Does anyone have any idea what happened in 2009 to make all the charts dip down slightly?
Alex Odell — May 13, 2012
Hopefully in another decade or two, my dad will stop believing that gay marriage is the devil's weapon against our country! =D
Mle292 — May 13, 2012
I wanna see a poll on what percentage of people oppose voting for or against someone else's rights. If it's relevant, I oppose it.
eeka — May 13, 2012
Wait, the only religions are "unaffiliated" and various types of Christian? Hmm...
Paul Harrison — May 14, 2012
I recently had a chat with my parents about this, and it didn't take
much to get them to go from weak opposition to (guarded) support of the
idea. We seem to be at a teachable moment.
I think a lot of people just don't have a strong opinion. It's not something that affects their day-to-day lives, and I imagine they'll generally go along with the perceived societal consensus.
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