The RP: Two New Polls Hint We’re Close to Tipping Point on Marriage Equality

I began this week by stirring up a bit of controversy when I came out of the political closet to endorse marriage equality. In that same essay, I opined that we are close to a tipping point when it comes to the acceptance of gay marriage by a significant majority of Americans.

We’ll end the week by highlighting two brand new polls which seem to support my theory.

First, check out the survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute (h/t The Dish):

A recent Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, is the third national poll in as many months to find majority support for same-sex marriage: a slim majority (51%) of Americans now favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 43% percent who are opposed. 
The results of the three polls are remarkably consistent even though the other two surveys were conducted by different organizations (ABC News/Washington Post; CNN/Opinion Research Corp.) using different question wordings.
And apparently it’s not just my kids’ generation (the “Millennials”) in support of marriage equality, but mine (“Generation X”) as well:
Sixty-one percent of 18-34 year olds support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, but so do nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Americans between the ages of 35 and 49.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey similarly found support extending into older age groups, with 59% of Americans ages 35 to 49 agreeing that marriages between gay and lesbian couples should be recognized by the law as valid.
Second, today Gallup — which just last year found only 44 percent of Americans supporting gay marriage — released a poll demonstrating another dramatic shift in public opinion (h/t Atlantic Wire):
For the first time in Gallup’s tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans’ views did not change…
For us policy geeks, Gallup produced two fascinating charts.  First, take a look at the historical trend, starting in 1996, which coincides almost precisely with my own entry into elective politics:
Now, here’s yet another illustration of the eyes-opening generation gap, as well as the smaller, while still significant, gender gap:


As I said on Monday, it is only a matter of time before the younger generations (and the ones behind them) dominate American public policy.

The ginormous remaining question is whether President Obama and other like-minded officials will step out soon to lead on this issue, or whether they will allow the tide of popular support to precede and perhaps engulf them. 

I have advocated for the former. What say you, RP Nation?


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