Opinion on the freedom to marry appears to be shifting at accelerated pace
August 16, 2010
Posted by Nate Silver on fivethirtyeight.com:
"In April, 2009, when we last took a survey of marriage equality polls,
we found that support for it had converged somewhere into the area of
41 or 42 percent of the country. Now, it appears to have risen by
several points, and as I reported yesterday, it has become increasingly unclear whether opposition to the freedom to marry still outweighs support for it.
"Here is a version of the graph we produced in 2009, but updated to include the dozen or so polls that have been conducted on it since that time, as listed by pollingreport.com. I have also included opinions on the freedom to marry from the General Social Survey, which asked about marriage equality as long ago as 1988.
"The LOESS regression line now shows 50 percent opposed to the freedom to marry and 49 percent in support -- basically too close to call.
... "Something to bear in mind is that it's only been fairly recently that gay rights groups -- and other liberals and libertarians -- shifted toward a strategy of explicitly calling for full equity in marriage rights, rather than finding civil unions to be an acceptable compromise. While there is not necessarily zero risk of backlash resulting from things like court decisions -- support for marriage equality slid backward by a couple of points, albeit temporarily, after a Massachusetts' court's ruling in 2003 that the freedom to marry was required by that state's constitution -- it seems that, in general, 'having the debate' is helpful to the marriage equality cause, probably because the secular justifications against it are generally quite weak."
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