PPP's newest poll finds that a majority of North Carolinians support some form of legal recognition for gay couples. 28% favor civil unions and 24% want full marriage rights for a total of 52% supportive of greater rights for same sex relationships compared to just 46% who think there should continue to be no legal recognition.
The age breakdown on these numbers makes it clear that public opinion will continue to move steadily in support of greater rights for gay couples. The only age group where a majority continues to oppose any recognition is senior citizens, 54% of whom hold that view to 25% who favor civil unions and 18% who support full marriage rights.
It's a completely different story with voters under 30- only 33% of them are against any sort of legal recognition while 37% are for marriage and another 30% support civil unions for a total of 67% favoring some sort of recognition. As that generational shift in the electorate continues support for increased rights for same sex couples will continue to rise.
The other interesting finding within the poll is that it's actually independent voters, more so than Democrats, who express the highest level of support for recognizing same sex couples. 64% of them (27% for full marriage, 37% for civil unions) think there should be compared to only 35% who think there should be nothing at all.
This is a classic example of somewhere Republicans risk antagonizing the very voters who put them into power last year by focusing on social issues. Independents overwhelmingly supported the GOP in 2010 but these numbers make it clear they weren't voting for the Republicans to make this issue a priority. This is one of those things where the GOP has to decide whether it's willing to sacrifice some of the goals of its caucus to have a shot at staying in power for more than two years.
Democrats (35% for marriage and 25% for civil unions) support some form of recognition by a 60/37 margin. Only Republicans want there to continue to be none, by a 61/36 (27% civil unions, 9% marriage) spread.
Full results here