Recent Polls Show Increase in Support for Marriage Equality

Yesterday, NBC/Wall Street Journal released a poll showing that the majority of Americans say President Obama’s support for marriage equality will not affect their vote. The poll also matches one from ABC News/Washington Post released today. In finding that a majority of Americans believe marriage should be legal for all couples in their states.

NBC reports that 62% of those polled “say the president’s support for gay marriage doesn’t make a difference in their vote,” including three quarters of independents and moderates, 81% of African Americans, and 65% of residents in the Midwest. NBC/WSJ also found that “54% of Americans would support a state law legalizing same-sex marriage,” compared to just 40% who said they would oppose it.

ABC/WaPo highlights the significance of this show of support, saying that 39% of Americans “strongly” supporting legalized same-sex marriage and 32% are strongly opposed. This is the first time in their poll that strong support has outnumbered strong opposition. Their poll also found that support from the African-American community has reached an all-time high, rising from 41% last year to now 59%. ABC/WaPo also reports that “71% Americans now say they have a friend, family member or acquaintance who’s gay, up from 59% in 1998.” Support for marriage equality is especially high among adults under age 30, with more than two thirds of younger people in favor.

The results come after weeks of speculation that President Obama’s announcement personally supporting marriage equality could hurt the public’s perception of him. The numbers from NBC and ABC, representing a diverse range of Americans, illustrate the consistently growing trend of support in recent years.  The show of support for the African-American community, which is higher than that of the general population, defies the notion that African Americans are disproportionately opposed to same-sex marriage. This is echoed by the recent statement from the NAACP recognizing and opposing discrimination against people in the LGBT community. Combined with support from the majority of adults under 30 and an increase in the number of those who have gay friends and family, these polls demonstrate that support for legal protection of gay rights is here to stay and will continue to grow across the nation.

GLAAD is delighted by the findings of ABC, NBC, WSJ and Washington Post. We hope the majority of Americans who support marriage equality will make their voices heard and that major news outlets will give them the space to do so. GLAAD hopes that these recent polls will be used to accurately inform audiences and enhance responsible journalism.