Another Poll Shows Majority Support For Same-Sex Marriage

For the first time, a majority of respondents in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll say they support allowing gays and lesbians to marry:

More than half of Americans say it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry, a first in nearly a decade of polls by ABC News and The Washington Post.

This milestone result caps a dramatic, long-term shift in public attitudes. From a low of 32 percent in a 2004 survey of registered voters, support for gay marriage has grown to 53 percent today. Forty-four percent are opposed, down 18 points from that 2004 survey.

The issue remains divisive; as many adults “strongly” oppose gay marriage as strongly support it, and opposition rises to more than 2-1 among Republicans and conservatives and 3-1 among evangelical white Protestants, a core conservative group. But opposition to gay marriage has weakened in these groups from its levels a few years ago, and support has grown sharply among others – notably, among Catholics, political moderates, people in their 30s and 40s and men.

Most interesting is the fact that this change is reflected across a broad swath of age groups:

While younger adults and liberals remain at the forefront of support for gay marriage, the new results underscore its expansion. In an ABC/Post poll five and a half years ago, for example, under-30s were the sole age group to give majority support to gay marriage, at 57 percent. Today it’s 68 percent in that group – but also 65 percent among people in their 30s, up a remarkable 23 points from the 2005 level; and 52 percent among those in their 40s, up 17 points.

Adults 50 and older remain more skeptical, but even that’s seen change. Most notably, 33 percent of seniors now say gay marriage should be legal, up from 18 percent five years ago.

This poll matches results in a Pew poll that I wrote about earlier this month, as well as other surveys, which seems to confirm that this isn’t just a statistical anomaly we’re looking at. Public attitudes¬† toward homosexuality have changed, significantly and in a relatively short period of time. At this point, marriage equality would seem to be an inevitability. The question now isn’t if, but when.


FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Axel Edgren says:

    How will the GOP handle this, I wonder? Throw the non-budging, obsessive bigots under the bus or try to appease them?

    My guess is they will stall any changes to the status quo and make appeals based on a “Oh let’s just wait with this slightly dangerous and unpredictable civil rights business” – that way they will go against the majority to appease their loathsome base, but will not have to admit it.

    As usual, the majority is only correct when they agree with a politician. This is something all politicians practice (and sometimes they are right to defy the majority, of course).

  2. Al says:

    Oh, I think these poll numbers are going to change when the lamestream media finally picks up on this story.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I think Axel’s right. Conservatives/Republicans will do what they always do: drag their feet, pander to the wingnuts, be dragged kicking and screaming into the future, and then promptly turn around and pretend it was their idea all along.

    But they can’t really make the final leap until they define a new minority to crap on. A GOP without scapegoats is unthinkable. Obviously they’d like it to be Muslims. But lacking another 9-11 I’m not sure that will gain much traction.

    Maybe we could run a reality TV show. We could call it Object of Hate. That’s catchy. Various minorities could try out to be hated by conservatives.