PRINCETON, N.J. — Fifty-three percent of Americans now support legalizing same-sex marriage, the third consecutive reading of 50 percent or above in Gallup polling over the past year.
The 53 percent favorable result ties the high to this point, also measured last November and in May 2011.
Three years ago, support for same-sex marriage was 44 percent. The current 53 percent level of support is essentially double the 27 percent in Gallup’s initial polling on same-sex marriage, in 1996.
According to Gallup, Democrats, independents, and liberals all show increasing support for same-sex marriage with each well above the fifty percent mark now.
Gallup also noted that Republicans, conservatives, and moderates are more likely to favor gay marriage now than in 1996, but the increase in support among these groups may have stalled. Thus, most of the increase in the percentage favoring legal gay marriage in the last three years has come among left-leaning groups politically.
One factor pointing to continued expansion of gay marriage support in the future is that young Americans are more likely than older Americans to favor it. That difference by age has always been apparent, and it persists today even though support has increased among all age groups over time.
Article continues belowAlthough a majority of Americans themselves support legal gay marriage, an even larger majority perceive that most Americans come down on the side of not legalizing it.
When asked their impression of how most Americans feel about the issue, 63 percent say the public is opposed to gay marriage and 30 percent say the public favors it.
Gallup says the data suggests that a segment of Americans who support same-sex marriage believe that their views are in the minority, while in reality they are in the majority.