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Reports that the Democratic Party may add support for marriage equality to its party platform are in keeping with a significant shift of opinion on the issue among Democrats nationwide, as support for same-sex marriage among Democrats continues to increase.
Just four years ago, in 2008, only half (50%) of Democrats favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 42% were opposed. Support for gay marriage among Democrats has jumped to 65% today, more than double the percentage that is opposed (29%).
According to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, partisan divide over marriage equality continues to widen.
Among Republicans, only 24% now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, which is only slightly higher than the percentage of Republicans who supported gay marriage in 2008 (19%). Independent support for gay marriage has grown substantially since 2008. More independents today (51%) favor than oppose (40%) same-sex marriage; four years ago independents were divided evenly (44% favor, 45% oppose).
The survey also indicated little change in support for marriage equality since President Barack Obama announced his support on the issue in May.
Two consecutive national surveys conducted since May 9, when Obama made his announcement, show 48% in favor of allowing gay marriage and 44% opposed. This is virtually unchanged from a survey conducted in April, before the president’s statement.
But Obama’s announcement may have rallied the Democratic base – particularly liberal Democrats – to the issue. Democrats supported same-sex marriage by a 59% to 31% margin in April – that stands at 65% to 29% today. Most of this shift has come among liberal Democrats, 83% of whom now support same-sex marriage, up from 73% earlier this year.
Among other the survey’s other major findings:
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