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61% Of Young Republicans Favor Marriage Equality

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Some additional interesting results from Pew Research’s survey of millenial voters:

Young people continue to be the strongest proponents of same-sex marriage. And as public support for same-sex marriage continues to grow, the gap between young and old is nowhere more striking than within the Republican coalition.

Today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

This generation gap among Republicans comes against a backdrop of rapidly changing public opinion overall on the issue. More than half the public (54%) now favors allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, a record high in Pew Research surveys, in keeping with findings from other recent polls. Democrats and Republicans remain on opposite sides of the issue, with 69% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents favoring same-sex marriage compared with 39% Republicans and Republican leaners.

(…)

The relative liberalism of young Republicans on issues of homosexuality goes beyond their support for gay marriage. Just 18% of Republicans under 30 say “more gay and lesbian couples raising children” is a bad thing for American society, while 26% say it is a good thing (56% either say it doesn’t make a difference or they don’t know). By comparison, majorities or pluralities of older Republicans say this trend is a bad thing for society.

Given the fact that support for same-sex marriage, and acceptance of gays and lesbians in general, is far higher among younger Americans than among other age groups, this isn’t entirely surprising. On one hand, it perhaps presages a day in which the Republican Party has a far saner view on social issues such as gay rights than it does today. On the other hand, it should be a warning to the GOP that if it continues to pander to an increasingly isolated base of social conservatives, it is likely going to lose more support among millennials than it already has.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    On the other hand, it should be a warning to the GOP that if it continues to pander to an increasingly isolated base of social conservatives, it is likely going to lose more support among millennials than it already has.

    Only if for these “young Republicans” marriage equality outpaces other issues in weight or focus.

    For instance, a young R may feel strongly that he should pay less tax, and fewer transfers of wealth … while also weakly supporting gay marriage.

    Such a voter is a hard reach for Dems in a candidate election (as opposed to a direct marriage ballot issue).

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  2. humanoid.panda says:

    @john personna: Right, but we are talking about getting things on the margin here. In a state like Florida, for example, getting, say, 10% of the gay-friendly republicans would be worth about 1% of the general electorate for the Democrats, and that something that can swing an election.

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  3. fodderwing says:

    I wonder how many Republicans under 30 are married. I personally don’t think anyone not married has much right to an opinion on the issue, as marriage is an institution that does not belong to them yet. Married people seem less in favor of same-sex, young unmarried people poll as being more in favor. Married people by virtue of being married give evidence that they hold marriage in high esteem. The under 30 crowd shows little interest in marriage for themselves these days, hence their easy acceptance of its re-definition.

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