Plurality of Likely Voters Back Gay Marriage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 9 2012 1:35 PM

Poll: Plurality of Likely Voters Back Gay Marriage

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Lailah (R) and Rachel Pepe kiss while waiting on line to get married at the Brooklyn City Clerk's office on July 24, 2011

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Forty percent of likely voters think that same-sex couples should be allowed to tie the knot, according to a new Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll. Three in 10 believe same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not get married, while 24 percent say there shouldn’t be any kind of legal union allowed. The generation gap in the survey is significant with 63 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds backing marriage equality, compared to 36 percent for those between 30 and 59 years old.

This latest poll shows support for gay marriage at a lower level than other recent surveys. A CBS poll released in late November found that 51 percent of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal, and a Quinnipac University survey released earlier this month found support at 48 percent, reports Bloomberg. Significantly, one-in-five of the 1,000 people polled for the latest Politico poll acknowledged changing their view on the issue over the last few years. That change is evident in the data from Pew Research Center that shows only 35 percent of Americans favoring allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally in 2001, while 57 percent opposed it. By this year, support increased to 48 percent, with 43 percent opposed.

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Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.