Virginia Postrel does some interesting math:
[T]he results aren’t as bleak for supporters of gay rights as you’d think from listening to triumphant social conservatives or despairing gays.
Nationally, gay marriage is a loser, but civil unions are a big winner, with 35 percent support (and 32 percent in the South). Assume that the 25 percent who back marriage rights (17 percent in the South), and you’ve got a clear majority (and a slim lead even in the South, where Bush won 32 percent of gay voters). The public is squeamish about “gay marriage,” but not about giving gay couples public recognition and legal rights.
Umm, Virginia, while I suppose there is a tiny fraction out there who are in the “marriage or nothing” camp, I’m virtually certain that nearly all of the 25 percent who back marriage rights are a subset of the 35 percent who support civil unions. Thus, the total is still somewhere around 35.
via Glenn Reynolds