Gay Marriage Polls: The Trend Is Clear

Gay Marriage Polls

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, President Barack Obama was not quite ready to say, as he did Wednesday, that he supports same sex marriage, but he conceded at the time that “attitudes evolve, including mine.” In a question and answer session with progressive bloggers in October 2010, Obama was quoted by Americablog’s Joe Sudbay saying “it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.”

If the president was thinking of the trends in public opinion polls, his read was dead-on. Surveys by various national media pollsters have shown a consistent, ongoing trend toward support of same-sex marriage, with slightly more Americans offering support than opposition in measurements taken over the past year.

For example, a just completed national Gallup poll fielded May 3-6 shows 50 percent in support of same-sex marriage and 48 percent opposed, slightly down from 53 percent support a year ago. As Gallup explained, the latest result marks “only the second time in Gallup’s history of tracking this question” that support exceeded opposition.


Similarly, three surveys conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News since May 2011 have shown from 51 percent to 53 percent of Americans saying it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry, with 43 percent to 45 percent saying it should be illegal.


Polls conducted by the Pew Research Center show the same trends, with opposition to “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally” falling from 60 percent to 43 percent since 2004, while support has increased from 31 percent to 43 percent.

A recent Pew Research report also shows that although black Americans are still more likely to oppose same-sex marriage than whites, the gap has narrowed significantly since 2008.


In a recent New York Times column, Pew Research president Andrew Kohut noted that while “much of the growing support for gay marriage is generational,” it also reflects changing opinion among older Americans. “Since 2004,” Kohut writes, “support for gay marriage has increased from 30 percent to 40 percent among baby boomers, and even among seniors (from 18 percent to 32 percent).”

Kohut also argued that the shifts in attitudes change the “political prospects” for the issue, particularly because of what he described as a narrowing of the “partisan intensity” gap in recent years that has worked to the advantage of opponents of gay marriage. “Today there are almost as many strong supporters of gay marriage among Democrats (34 percent) as there are strong opponents among Republicans (40 percent),” Kohut wrote.

Whether Obama’s embrace of same-sex marriage will further shift the intensity of opinion on this issue remains to be seen, but as the president observed nearly two years ago, the direction of the trends is clear.

  • Mitt Romney

    “I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Mitt Romney said.

  • Kyrsten Sinema

  • Daniel O’Donnell

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

  • Jeff Merkley

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Michael Bloomberg

    “This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights,” said New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. “No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people – and I have no doubt that this will be no exception. The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion. Today’s announcement is a testament to the President’s convictions, and it builds on the courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.”

  • Jerrold Nadler

    “I applaud President Obama for announcing his support for marriage equality today,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) “For the first time in this nation’s history, a sitting president has shown the courage and leadership to stand up for all American families by pledging to support the fundamental right of every person to marry the person they love, and to have that marriage fully respected. I commend President Obama for this brave and honest step. Those who seek to politicize civil rights for personal or political gain will certainly attack him, but the course toward marriage equality and justice is the correct and inevitable path.”

  • Brad Lander

  • Fred Karger

    “I’m thrilled!” longshot GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger told HuffPost, referring to Obama’s embrace of marriage equality. Karger is the first openly gay Republican or Democrat to run for president. “The Karger pressure has worked,” he joked. “Particularly after the defeat in North Carolina, we welcome him to the full equality position.”

  • Vince Gray

  • Martin O’Malley

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

  • Barack Obama

  • Mark Udall

  • Senator Chris Coons

  • Rep.George Miller

  • Jim Himes

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Nita Lowey

    “I have been blessed to have a long and happy marriage. I strongly believe all Americans deserve that same opportunity,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)

  • Antonio Villaraigosa

  • Jackie Speier

  • Michael Steele

  • Dennis Kucinich

  • John Brunner

  • Cory Booker

  • Chris Gregoire

  • Fred Karger

  • Ted Strickland

  • Jared Polis

  • Reince Priebus

    “While President Obama has played politics on this issue, the Republican Party and our presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have been clear. We support maintaining marriage between one man and one woman and would oppose any attempts to change that,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz

  • Chellie Pingree

  • Christine C. Quinn

  • Mike Huckabee

    “Barack Obama just announced he supports same-sex marriage,” Mike Huckabee wrote in a fundraising appeal to supporters. “Nancy Pelosi immediately jumped on the announcement and emailed Democrat activists nationwide promising to continue their fight. This is going to be a defining issue this election. Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats have been a complete failure on economic issues so now they are going to focus on issues that will rile up their base. Well, Mr. President it’s going to rile up our folks also. Men and women who support traditional marriage.”

  • Rep. Bill Taylor

  • Deval Patrick

  • Frank Lautenberg

    “President Obama’s support for marriage equality marks an important moment for civil rights in America,” said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), who co-sponsored legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “We simply can not treat same sex couples as second-class citizens in our country. Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time and is critical to guaranteeing the equal protection under the law promised to every American in the Constitution. The President’s support for marriage equality should inspire Congress, Governors and state legislatures to advance civil rights for all Americans.”

  • Allen West

  • Ann McLane Kuster

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy

  • Peter Welch

    “This is an historic moment and I applaud the President for his decision and courage,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. “One of the greatest and most liberating human emotions is acceptance. And what the President did today was accept that the quality of love two people share is more important than their gender. The President’s decision required him look within and engage his heart. It is truly wonderful and welcome news.”

  • Senator Patty Murray

  • Steve Rothman

    “As an early and strong proponent of Marriage Equality, I am very happy that President Obama has made this announcement,” said Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) “Marriage Equality is a matter of basic human rights and all of America’s same-sex families are now closer to having their unions recognized by our government. This is an important step in our country’s march toward achieving true justice and equality for all.”

  • Chuck Schumer

  • JackieForNH

  • Howard Dean

    “President Obama’s public support for marriage equality is an historic affirmation of the fundamental American value of equal rights for all,” said Howard Dean. “Having signed the nation’s first law allowing Civil Unions as Governor of Vermont, I’m also proud to see our president affirm the belief that I and so many other Americans hold: loving and committed couples should have the same benefits that are extended through marriage. Marriage equality is a right and a benefit to all families.”

  • Mike Quigley

  • Senator Ben Cardin

  • Sen. Barbara Boxer

  • Senator Dick Durbin

  • Rep. Barbara Lee

  • Earl Blumenauer

  • Rick Larsen

  • Linda T. Sánchez

  • Chris Murphy

  • Brian Higgins

  • Judy Chu

  • Congressman Sam Farr

  • Niki Tsongas

  • David N. Cicilline

  • Luis V. Gutierrez

  • Gerry Connolly

  • Carolyn B. Maloney

  • Charles Rangel

  • Rep. John Yarmuth

  • Rep. Mike Honda

  • Governor Dan Malloy

  • Peter Shumlin

  • Jan Schakowsky

  • Jose E. Serrano

  • Jim Moran

  • Lois Capps

  • Rep. Diana DeGette

  • Rep. Xavier Becerra

  • Sen Dianne Feinstein

  • Senator Hatch Office

  • Sen. Robert Menendez

  • Andrew Cuomo

  • Christine O’Donnell

    “In my opinion this is a distraction,” former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto. “President Obama does not have a record that he can stand on. People are not finding jobs, they cannot find a house. The worst thing that can happen for his re-election efforts is if every day that goes by people are being reminded of this economic mess that his policies have created in this country.”

  • Jim McDermott

  • Barney Frank

    “Earlier this year, President Obama took a major step towards vindicating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to marry when he announced his refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act’s blatant discrimination against us,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in a statement.

    “Today he has taken the next logical step to complete the process by expressing his support for our right to marry people of the same sex. I understand why a President facing a national election took some time in making this decision, and I believe that the fact that he first announced his repudiation of DOMA gave him a chance to assess the reaction to that. I know there are those who wish that elected officials would completely ignore public opinion – of course only in those cases where they do not agree with public opinion – but that is not a realistic course in a democracy for those seeking to get the authority from the public to govern.”

    “This does not meant that the President’s decision today was entirely without some political risk, but I believe it will be clear in the days ahead that this will cost him no votes, since those opposed to legal equality for LGBT people were already inclined to oppose him, and that it will make it easier for us to mobilize the people in this country who oppose discrimination to help reelect him.”

  • Jim Inhofe

  • Steve Israel

  • Rush Holt

  • “President Obama now wants the federal government to redefine marriage in Missouri and everywhere in our country with his newly “evolved” support for same-sex marriage,” said John Brunner, one of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Missouri. “My consistent conservative belief is that marriage is between one man and one woman and it is a belief I will fight for in the United States Senate if Missourians elect me. What President Obama did today by reversing his position in an election year is not surprising. Moreover, it is clearly an attempt to distract from his record of failure on economic issues including high unemployment, out of control spending and America’s $15 trillion debt. Missourians tell me they want a conservative Citizen-Senator who will go to Washington and fight for American values and American jobs, and that is exactly what I will be.”

  • RepKevinBrady

  • Rep. Joe Crowley

  • Chris Van Hollen

  • Eric Garcetti

  • Adam Schiff

  • Jim Langevin

  • Brad Sherman

  • Jerry Sanders

    San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders (R) a href=”” target=”_hplink”told the emLos Angeles Times/em/a he supported the president’s statement:

    blockquote”As someone whose position has also evolved, I know this is an issue of equality and basic human rights,” Sanders said. “Two people who love each other should be able to get married. It’s really as simple as that. History will judge President Obama kindly for his decision.”

    Sanders, a former police chief, opposed same-sex marriage when he ran for mayor in 2005. But he reversed his position in 2007 during his reelection campaign, saying that his previous opposition stemmed from prejudice.

  • Richard Blumenthal

  • Senator Jack Reed

  • Jim DeMint

  • Frederica Wilson

  • “My personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “But in a civil society, I believe that people should be able to marry whomever they want, and it’s no business of mine if two men or two women want to get married. The idea that allowing two loving, committed people to marry would have any impact on my life, or on my family’s life, always struck me as absurd.

    “In talking with my children and grandchildren, it has become clear to me they take marriage equality as a given. I have no doubt that their view will carry the future.

    “I handled a fair amount of domestic relations work when I was a practicing lawyer, and it was all governed by state law. I believe that is the proper place for this issue to be decided as well.”

  • Sheldon Whitehouse

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About Albert N. Milliron 6991 Articles
Albert Milliron is the founder of Politisite. Milliron has been credentialed by most major news networks for Presidential debates and major Political Parties for political event coverage. Albert maintains relationships with the White House and State Department to provide direct reporting from the Administration’s Press team. Albert is the former Public Relations Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party in Georgia. He is a former Delegate. Milliron is a veteran of the US Army Medical Department and worked for Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Psychiatry.

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