Thursday, 23 September 2010

Second Poll Confirms: US Majority Support Gay Marriage.

When a CNN poll last month showed for the first time that a majority of Americans supported gay marriage, I was a little cautious. A single poll can always be an aberration, the wording was unusual, and the small tiny (in a split sample, just 250 - half of a sample of 500). However, a new poll with more conventional wording and a more robust sample has produced an almost identical result: 52% support full marriage equality (and 46%
 against, with only 2% "don't know").
This is an outright majority, but a narrow one and within the statistical margin of error. However, there are a few features of this poll that are even more encouraging than the bare numbers.
There is a clear and continuous upward trend in support. The 52% in favour, and favourable margin of 6%, contrasts markedly with just 46% in favour and a deficit of 7% in the comparable survey just a year ago.
Unusually, the question was applicable to legal recognition by the federal government, not just at state level. I would see this as more important and powerful, politically.
  • Support for equal treatment under the law for same sex couples, without necessarily invoking that word marriage, is substantial: 58% for, to 38% against. That is clear majority support, without any qualification whatever.
  • Elsewhere in the survey. was a question on judicial decisions, which has relevance here. Asked if judges should restrict their verdicts to narrow legal interpretations, or should consider the broader interests of society, a clear majority agreed with the latter view. This does not augur well for those who are trying to unseat the "activist judges" of Iowa.
From Politico:
The first national poll suggesting the majority of Americans back same-sex marriage looked like a fluke.
Today, a second poll finds that a 52% majority back federal legal recognition for same-sex marriage.
In both cases, the questions weren't totally straightforward.
This one asked: "Should the Federal Government give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, or not?"
In response, 52% said yes.
The earlier CNN poll had gotten almost identical numbers from this question:
"Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?"
That isn't the same as saying your state should marry same-sex couples. But it's a pretty clear explanation of why this isn't an effective political issue any more. And it suggests that appeals to the Supreme Court may not be as out of step with public opinion as many on both sides of this fight had assumed.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment