Strong public support for same-sex marriage exceeds strong opposition by a significant margin for the first time, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday.
The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that support for same-sex marriage has reached a new high among African-Americans, up from four in 10 in recent surveys to 59 percent now, perhaps taking their lead from President Barack Obama on the issue.
Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, steady the past year but up from 36 percent in just 2006. Thirty-nine percent “strongly” support it, while 32 percent are strongly opposed – the first time strong sentiment has tilted positive. Six years ago, by contrast, strong views on the issue were negative by a broad 27-point margin.
Another result shows increasing exposure: Seventy-one percent of Americans now say they have a friend, family member or acquaintance who’s gay, up from 59 percent in 1998. People who know someone who’s gay are 20 points more likely than others to support gay marriage.ABC News →
The poll showed that “strong opposition” to same-sex marriage is at a new low in polls since 2004, while “strong support” is at a numerical high.
Among groups, 59 percent of African-Americans in this survey expressed support for gay marriage – up from 41 percent in combined ABC/Post polls this spring and last summer. Likewise, 65 percent support Obama’s recently announced support for marriage equality.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also announced its support for gay marriage last weekend.
“These numbers, along with high-profile declarations of support for marriage equality from leaders and groups as diverse as President Barack Obama, Jay-Z, General Colin Powell, and the NAACP, should forever dispel the toxic myth that the African American community is anti-gay,” said John Becker, Director of Communications for Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism.
“Shameful efforts by right-wing groups like the so-called National Organization for Marriage to turn marriage equality into a ‘wedge between gays and blacks’ have failed miserably,” Becker said.