NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll Underscores Strong Political Benefit of Supporting Freedom to Marry

3/8/2012

For Democratic and Independent Voters, Candidates' Support is a Strong Net Positive in Determining Whom They Will Support 
 
Press Contact:
Angela Dallara
Communications Associate
Angela@freedomtomarry.org
646-430-3925

NEW YORK – A deeper look at the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted Feb. 29 through March 3, debunks the notion that support for the freedom to marry is a politically risky position and shows that, in fact, being forthrightly for the freedom to marry is a net positive for voters, and, in particular, a strong net positive for Democratic and Independent voters, as well as younger voters across the spectrum.  Some key findings from the latest 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%)
“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,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry.  “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 an overwhelmingly 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%)
“This most recent poll confirms the trends and momentum that we’ve seen and felt in the past three years, as Americans have opened their hearts and changed their mind in favor of the freedom to marry,” said Wolfson.  “As more Americans have engaged in conversations with their friends and family members about why marriage matters to gay couples, people in every grouping—seniors, Republicans, African-Americans, southerners, Catholics—are rising to fairness.  It’s time – and politically imperative – for elected officials and candidates to join America’s majority for marriage.” 

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Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.