Reports that the Democratic Party may add support for gay marriage to its party platform are in keeping with a significant shift of opinion on this issue among Democrats nationwide. Just four years ago, in 2008, only half (50%) of Democrats favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 42% were opposed. Support for gay marriage among Democrats has jumped to 65% today, more than double the percentage that is opposed (29%).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 28-July 9, 2012, among 2,973 adults, finds that the partisan divide over gay marriage continues to widen. Just 24% of Republicans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, which is only slightly higher than the percentage of Republicans who supported gay marriage in 2008 (19%).
Independent support for gay marriage has grown substantially since 2008. More independents today favor (51%) than oppose (40%) gay marriage; four years ago independents were divided evenly (44% favor, 45% oppose).
While President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage earlier this year drew significant news coverage and public interest, its effect on public opinion has been limited. Two consecutive national surveys conducted since May 9, when Obama made his announcement, show 48% in favor of allowing gay marriage and 44% opposed. This is virtually unchanged from a survey conducted in April, before the president’s statement.
Read the full report, Two-Thirds of Democrats Now Support Gay Marriage, on the The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's website.