Public opinion has shifted since the last two presidential campaigns on a pair of contentious social issues -- gun control and gay marriage, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15. Americans have become more conservative on gun control and more liberal on gay marriage.
On gun control, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, while 45% say it is more important to control gun ownership. From 1993 through 2008, majorities had said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights, but opinion became more divided since 2009 after the election of Barack Obama.
The public is divided over gay marriage: 47% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, while 43% are opposed. But that contrasts to the attitudes of Americans in 2008 when 39% favored and 51% opposed gay marriage. In 2004, 60% of the public opposed gay marriage.
Read the full report, More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' website.