Interesting news out of Pew Research Center today as they break down the numbers behind growing support for marriage equality.
Across four Pew Research Center surveys this year, 48% of Americans say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 43% are opposed. Just four years ago, in the 2008 election cycle, 51% opposed making same-sex marriages legal and 39% supported it.
The steep recent trend has continued over the course of 2012. The most recent survey, conducted just two weeks before the election, found nearly half (49%) in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while opposition had fallen to an all-time low of 40%. (See survey topline). The tipping balance of American public opinion was confirmed in this week's national election exit polling: 49% of voters said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage; 46% said it should not.
The trend toward increased support for gay marriage is evident across all regions. In each, the percentage that currently favors allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is far higher than it was a decade ago.
Attitudes toward gay marriage in the South are comparable to where the country as a whole was a decade ago. In the states ranging from Kentucky to Texas, 35% now support same-sex marriage. That is comparable to the 33% that said this nationwide in 2003.
At the same time, the proportion nationwide that currently favors allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally matches the percentage that said this in New England a decade ago (both 48%).