Photo: Pew Research centre
Support for same-sex marriage has undergone a dramatic and unprecedented shift in the past decade, with more people now firmly supporting it than opposing. The Pew Research centre recently took a look at its polls on the subject from the past 10 years. The key number is the combined 26-point swing over that period. 10 years ago, 57 per cent of Americans opposed gay marriage, compared with 35 per cent that supported it.
Now, it’s reversed. Today, 47 per cent of Americans support gay marriage. And only 43 per cent are opposed.
“The change in attitude is certainly unprecedented,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research centre.
“It’s hard to say how any one issue compares with another. One thing to point out would be that in recent polling by our colleagues, whereas attitudes on same-sex marriage have been moving for the past few years, attitudes about abortion, for example, have been more stable,” Smith added.
According to separate research at Pew, the issue of gay marriage does not figure to play a prominent role in deciding the 2012 election. But the dramatic shift in public support is another sign that most Americans might be ready to accept legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Generational support has jumped, most significantly among the millennial generation born after 1981.
The biggest jump of any demographic was among the religiously unaffiliated — from 61 per cent to 77 per cent.
Republican opposition has remained, but both Independents and Democrats increased their support significantly.
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