Republican support for same-sex marriage is on the rise

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In February 2014, The New York Times and CBS News asked Americans for their views on various issues, their attitudes toward the parties and their opinion of a number of possible presidential candidates.

The poll showed that Republican support for same-sex marriage is on the rise. Two out of five (40%) said they support marriage equality. Less than two years ago, only one in four (24%) said they thought it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry. However, in the February 2014 poll, it was revealed that one in four (27%) Democrats think that same-sex marriage should be illegal.

How do the views of Democrats and Republicans compare?

The February 2014 poll revealed some notable and perhaps surprising patterns in the views of Democrats and Republicans on support for legalizing same-sex marriage and whether it should be a state-based or federal law.

When asked should it be legal or not legal for same-sex couples to marry:

  • 70% of Democrats said yes it should be legal, while 27% said it should not be legal
  • 40% of Republicans said it should be legal, while 55% said it should not be legal
When asked whether laws regarding whether same-sex marriage is legal or not should be determined by the federal government or left to each individual state government to decide:

  • 77% of the Democrats said it should be decided by individual state government
  • 52% of the Republicans said that it should be decided by individual state government

However, as reported recently by CNN, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the federal government will expand the recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. The federal rights will therefore extend to US states where same-sex marriage is not legal.

When asked whether they would ever vote for a candidate who does NOT share their views on same-sex marriage:

  • 47% of Republicans said they would not vote for a candidate that did NOT share their views
  • 52% of Democrats said they would not vote for a candidate that did NOT share their views

Interestingly, approximately one in two from both parties said they would never vote for a candidate that did not share their views on same-sex marriage. This shows what an important issue it is to people (both those for and against same-sex marriage).

The survey was conducted via telephone interviews (during February 19 to 23) with 1,644 adults in the US. The interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. It was led by The New York Times and CBS News.

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