Gay Marriage: The Electorate Changes, and Politics Follow
In the 2004 elections, analysts believed that proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in as many as 11 states. But since then, many Americans have changed their minds, and a whole new generation has come of age with a different point of view on this issue.
Growing Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage
As courts and legislatures address the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, public support for gay marriage continues to grow.
The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election
In the last four national elections, generation has mattered more in American elections than it has in decades. This continues to be true as voters look ahead toward the 2012 general election. In a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there is a 20-point gap in support for Obama between Millennials and the over-65 Silent generation.
How Accurate Are Counts of Same-Sex Couples?
Two decades after the Census Bureau began offering people the option to describe themselves as a same-sex “unmarried partner,” producing accurate numbers on same-sex couples remains a challenge.
Most Say Homosexuality Should Be Accepted By Society
While the public is divided over same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans (58%) say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society. But there are wide political and religious differences in opinions on this measure.
Shifting Political Winds
Americans’ are less discontent with the federal government but no more ready for political compromise. Views of Congress remain heavily negative, while Obama’s ratings stay positive. On social issues, the public is, for the first time, evenly split on gay marriage, while support for legal abortion, legalized marijuana — but not gun control — have all risen.
Mixed Views on Tax Cuts, Support for START and Allowing Gays to Serve Openly
With the public giving subpar approval ratings to President Obama and continuing to express negative views of Congress and the political parties, it goes its own way on many of the remaining issues before the lame-duck Congress.
Most Continue to Favor Gays Serving Openly in Military
Large majorities of Democrats and independents favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Republicans are divided, but among conservative Republicans, far more oppose than favor allowing gays to serve openly.
Gay Marriage Gains More Acceptance
For the first time in 15 years of Pew Research Center polling, fewer than half oppose same-sex marriage, though, support (42%) remains below opposition (48%). The shift in favor of gay marriage has been broad-based, occurring across many demographic, political and religious groups.
Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.