Friday, August 13, 2010

Americans still opposed to gay marriage

Most Americans still think same sex marriage should be illegal...but they think it will be legal within a generation.

Our newest national survey finds 57% of Americans think it should be illegal while 33% think it should be legal and 11% have no opinion. Republicans are pretty universal in thinking it should be illegal, 81/12, while Democrats only narrowly favor it 47/40. Independents array slightly against it by a 48/41 margin.

Americans within pretty much every demographic group continue to oppose gay marriage. Whites are against it 58/34, Hispanics 57/27, and African Americans 52/34. Women oppose it 55/35 and men do 59/31. Voters under 30 do 52/44, ones between 30 and 45 do 51/37, ones between 46 and 65 do 59/29 and those over 65 do 61/31.

Although most Americans still oppose gay marriage they see that a change is coming. 53% think that it will be legal 20 years from now while only 32% think it will still be disallowed. Proponents of gay marriage are incredibly optimistic on the issue- 96% of them think it will be legal by 2030 to only 1% who thinks it will not. Among gay marriage opponents 27% think it will be a reality within a couple decades to 55% who think it will continue to be illegal.

Obviously these poll results are very different from a CNN poll earlier this week that showed Americans moving in support of gay marriage, but disparities between live interviewer and the automated polling we do on this issue are not a new thing. Last fall our polling in Maine showed an anti-gay marriage measure passing by 4 points while live interviewer polls by Democracy Corps and Pan Atlantic SMS showed it failing by 9 and 11 points respectively. The measure did end up passing by a margin of 5.5 points.

Why the disparity between automated and live interviewer polls on gay marriage? Americans are still biased against gay people...but some of them know that's wrong and they shouldn't be. Because of that they're more likely to tell their true feelings on an automated poll where there's no social anxiety concern than to a live interviewer who they may be worried about the reaction of.

It is frankly impossible, based on the results of gay marriage referendums over the last decade, to believe that a majority of Americans support its legalization. Dark blue states like California and Maine voted against it just in the last two years. Obama states like Wisconsin and Virginia rejected it by 14 and 18 points margins in 2006 and red states like South Carolina and Tennessee did so by 56 and 62 point margins. The actual votes we have had on same sex marriage in many states across the country are a more dependable barometer of opinion on the issue than any polling and they tell the story of an American public pretty still pretty opposed to it.

Nevertheless the numbers are moving in the right direction for gay marriage proponents, if slowly, and the predictions of respondents on this poll about what the status of same sex marriage will be in the future may be a good predictor of where things are ultimately headed.

Full results here


Norcalinvestor said...

This is false information. As of a 2010 study, 61% of U.S. citizens support gay marriage while 39% oppose it. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

To say every demographic opposes gay marriage is wrong. Younger voters have voted in favor of gay marriage in most states.

Unknown said...

Polls tend to be all over the road depending upon the group performing the poll, how the question is phrased, and whether the group is independent vs. favoring one side.

What would be an interesting poll is to divide it along age, income, and educational level achieved lines. Also, throw in how much religion plays a role in the respondent's life.

What I see anecdotally is that the younger, better-educated, less involved with traditional dogmatic religions, the more favorable people are to same-sex marriage. Conversely, older, less-educated, with less income, and more tied to religion, the less likely they are to support same-sex marriage. That seemed to be the case in the Maine Referendum-1 question. The college towns and wealthier Portland were pro-SSM. The rural, poorer areas, voted against SSM.

This may well do with exposure to the world. Those in tight-knit, small communities who travel little, probably do not get much exposure to same-sex couples. Just a guess.

The reason I most often hear against same-sex marriage has its roots in religion. Rarely do I hear anyone complain about same-sex marriage who is low-key or neutral on religion.

The Interesting Times said...

"Americans are still biased against gay people...but some of them know that's wrong and they shouldn't be."

I wouldn't go that far.

Most Americans are still biased against gay marriage (not necessarily gay people--they're not the same thing), but many of them worry that a live pollster will think that's wrong and judge them for it.

Still, this is a perfect example of the superiority of automated polls (much-maligned by some people) over live pollsters.

RTF said...

I know PPP's reputation as an accurate swing state election predictor, but this is a national public sentiment poll that seems have the sample skewed to the political right. Republicans are overrepresented by 10 points; independents underrepresented by the same amount. Intra-party ideological bent seems to be skewed (political) right too; even a Fox News poll says 56% of Dems and 37% of Reps support gay marriage, but your poll shows 47 and 12 percent, respectively.

I have more analysis and full information with links on my blog: Gay Marriage: Is PPP Data Skewed Right?

Anonymous said...

I agree that a majority of Americans remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I also agree that the recent CNN poll likely skewed toward the pro-gay side.

That having been said, the results of the PPP poll are suspect inasmuch as they contradict in several important respects virtually every poll taken on this issue to date. More whites are opposed to SSM than Blacks and Latinos? That has never been the finding in any poll in any state or nationally. SSM has less support among those younger than 30 than it does in the 30-45 group? Sorry, but that result cannot be found in any other reputable poll. It may be that PPP oversampled white conservatives and young conservatives, as this would explain the discrepancy. Whatever the explanation, the PPP results should be taken with a high degree of skepticism.

Anonymous said...

These comments are fairly humorous. Seems like a good number of gay marriage proponents follow this blog and cannot accept the poll's findings. I think it can fairly be said that most national polls over the last 10 years on this issue come out about 60/40 opposed. The CNN poll was an outlier.

You get outside of NYC, Boston, D.C., L.A., and San Fran and you find that Americans are opposed to gay marriage across the country around 70/30. Yes, the "fly over country" does not jive with the big cities. As the blog post mentioned, you have states like TN and MS that passed marriage amendments with margins of about 60 points.

Anonymous said...

"Why the disparity between automated and live interviewer polls on gay marriage? Americans are still biased against gay people...but some of them know that's wrong and they shouldn't be."

Maybe they just feel like they just have to be more "politically correct" to an interviewer...

jason said...

Demographic TRENDS are extremely important when you look at the future of the gay marriage issue. Let us not forget that in 2008, the overwhelming majority of Hispanic and Black voters in California, who came out for Obama in huge numbers, shot down gay marriage, while White voters in that state were slightly for it. One could argue that as white, liberal, childless/low birthrate couples become older and die off, the American population will begin to move against gay marriage in larger numbers. For example, take Holland, where Muslim immigrants are swelling as a percentage of the Dutch population. Gay marriage is polled there annually and it has been slowly decreasing in popularity every year over the last decade. European Muslims, not unlike the American Hispanic and Black population, are increasing as a percentage to Whites and are strongly anti-gay marriage. Like it or not, considering current trends, by 2030 the gay marriage issue will be dead in the water.

Jim Hohl said...

This is fake data. Who are those organizations?

Anonymous said...

"Why the disparity between automated and live interviewer polls on gay marriage? Americans are still biased against gay people...but some of them know that's wrong and they shouldn't be."

More likely some of the pro-gay activists are danged scary and many of us don't want to be in their sights and are suspect against anything that seems like you might take our name and put it on a list saying "opposed gay marriage" and risk our family. The last 2 years of militant pro-gay activism HAS to have an effect on this sort of poll. It should be one of the questions you ask on a poll like this as well.

Anonymous said...

For Chuck... it's not how educated you are, since most of the educated people I know are opposed. It's more 'how many years out of Liberal-minded college/university' the person is. People tend to become more conservative the more time they're away from university, on all issues.

Bob said...

All this poll proves is that if allowed, the majority will vote away the rights of the minority in this case.

It's no secret that the vast majority of Southerners opposed the integration of schools...had it not been for Brown v. The Board of Education and instead had been put to vote, blacks would probably still be educated in hideously inferior "separate but equal" Southern schools.

When Brown v. Board was ruled, almost every Southern Congressperson and Senator signed the "Southern Manifesto", which said in part: "The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in the public school cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men substitute naked power for established law."

Sound familiar?

Dustin Ingalls said...

jason, to argue that America might become more opposed to gay marriage as older generations die out is beyond illogical. Public opinion trends are uniformly toward favoring gay marriage, by about 1.5 points more positive per year in the last 20+ years. It's slow, but it's coming. Whites will for a long, long time be a plurality in this country, and I doubt blacks are going to always be as opposed as they are now.

Unknown said...

So what? It doesn't matter what the majority thinks when it comes to fundamental rights.

Unknown said...

Okay, I see that you left young people out...blah blah....SO WHAT? The point is that it does NOT matter WHAT the majority thinks when it comes to fundamental rights. Sorry, haters. Watch your hero who got you 8 years of W tell you the TRUTH.

jason said...

Dustin, far be it from me to be the one to crush your dream of legal gay marriage but don't let the issue cloud your thinking. If it wasn't for large Black and Hispanic turnout in Cali, gay marriage would be legal there today. If you are truly ignorant of this, look at the internal polling on the issue! Hispanics, as a percentage of the American population, are growing faster than your pro-gm percentage. Like EuroMuslims, Hispanics are very pro-children/family and more religious than Whites as a whole and therefore against gay marriage. Like I said, as in Europe, gay marriage becomes more unpopular as demographics change. Looking at our own country, ultra-white, liberal Vermont, for example, is not a good guide to the gay marriage issue but multi-cultural California certainly IS. Gay marriage is legal in countries like Holland, Sweden, Spain and Denmark but as their demographics continue to shift to a larger percentage of Muslims, gay marriage along with a host of other liberal issues, are becoming less popular. Sorry to burst your bubble but the gay marriage issue will soon be a thing of the past.

Stefan said...

Jason, to respond to what you say about changing Demographics, did you ever think that in many cases children break off of their parent's opposition? I've seen it happen in many instances, and will continue to happen among Hispanics. Remember too that many of the Hispanics that come to America never become citizens, so they will never be voting. I read a study of Muslims living in Sweeden which showed that most of them do tend to become sympathetic of gay issues as they continue to reside there.

The bottom line is this: Young people overwealmingly are more accepting of gay people, and that is not something that tends to change with age.

sotokiedugg said...

gay marriage is immoral today it will be immoral tomorrow and will for evermore be immoral.statistics wont change that fact. cnn is a liberal news medium and will allows manipulate raw data in their favor to show a majority support for gay marriage, and not only them but if ten different organizations do the same survey they will all come up with different statics to favor their position on the issue.After all America is still a center right country.

Web Statistics