NBC/WSJ Poll: Strong political benefits for supporting the freedom to marry
March 08, 2012
Surely, you've witnessed anti-gay politicians underscore their opposition to the freedom to marry, often in an attempt to build support and drive voter turnout. While some may have bought into the notion that marriage for same-sex couples is a "wedge" issue in electoral politics over the past decade, recent polling dispels the claim that supporting the freedom to marry is a political risk. A strong majority of Americans support the freedom to marry, and as such, support for the freedom to marry is widely seen as a winning issue that resonates with a wide spectrum of voters. In particular, support for marriage is a strong net positive for Democratic, Independent, and younger voters across the board.
An NBC/Wall Street journal poll conducted on February 29th illustrates this perfectly. Here are some of the key findings from the poll:
- Overall, voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the freedom to marry than a candidate who opposes the freedom to marry, by a margin of 25% to 20%, with an additional 54% stating that they have no concern and support would make no difference in how they vote.
- Voters that supported President Obama in 2008 are 8 times more likely to support a candidate who supports the freedom to marry than a candidate who opposes (40% to 5%)
- Democrats are more than 4 times more likely to support a candidate in favor of the freedom to marry (39% to 9%)
- Independents are 2 times more likely to support a candidate in favor of the freedom to marry (22% to 11%)
Our Founder and President Evan Wolfson reacted to the shifting political climate in a statement released today:
“It’s time for candidates and political operatives to recognize that it’s 2012, not 1996 or even 2004, and get with the majority for marriage. In 2012, supporting the freedom to marry is not just the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do politically, and for Democrats, Independents, and those who want to appeal to 2008 Obama supporters, it’s overwhelming clear political advantage, and, perhaps, necessity.”
In addition, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll confirmed growth in support since October 2009 across nearly every slice of the electorate, with very strong growth in some crucial groups:
- Support for the freedom to marry among African-Americans has grown by 56% (from 32% to 50%)
- Support among Republicans has grown by 41% (from 22% to 31%).
- Support among blue-collar Americans has grown by 69% (from 29% to 49%)
- Support among southerners has grown by 45% (from 31% to 45%)
- Support among moderates has grown by 40% (from 40% to 56%)
- Support among retirees has grown by 26% (from 34% to 43%)
Some other noteworthy findings:
- Hispanic voters support the freedom to marry by nearly 2 to 1 (55% to 30%)
- Democrats favor the freedom to marry by a two-thirds majority (67% to 24%)
- Catholic voters support the freedom to marry by more than a 2 to 1 margin (59% to 29%)
- Frequent church-attending Catholic voters favor the freedom to marry (50% to 35)
- Voters that supported President Obama in 2008 are in favor by greater than 3 to 1 margin (71% to 19%)
- In every region of the country support for the freedom to marry is equal to or greater than opposition, including even the South (Northeast 56% to 33%; Midwest 49% to 45%; South 45% to 45%; West 49% to 36%)
Freedom to Marry is calling on the Democratic Party to adopt a freedom to marry plank in the 2012 platform. Not only is it the right thing to do, but calling for an end to marriage discrimination is right political move as well. Click here to add your name to the 32,000+ Americans asking the Democrats to adopt a marriage plank.