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The Trend Toward Acceptance

Jim Burroway

August 12th, 2010

Prompted by yesterday’s CNN Poll, Nate Silver looked at public polls since 1988, and believes we are experiencing an accelerated trend toward broad acceptance of same-sex marriage:

One caveat is that LOESS regression tends to be fairly sensitive on the endpoints, and so yesterday’s CNN survey, which showed the pro-gay marriage position leading 50.5-48.5, makes a fair amount of difference. But even if we ignored that survey, support for gay marriage would instead be in the range of 45-46 percent (and opposition between 51-52 percent): that would reflect acceleration in the rate of support for gay marriage, about a 4-point gain over the past 16 months, faster than the long-term rate of increase, which has been between 1 and 1.5 points per year.

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L. Junius Brutus
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Well, the claim that our opponents keep making about gay marriage polls is this: if this is true, then how come even the most liberal states keep rejecting gay marriage? If 45-46% of people support gay marriage, is it truly credible that support in a very liberal state like Maine is only 47% (despite us outspending our opponents)?

CNN polls are generally garbage, and I think this one is no exception. And the question that was asked, was flawed. The first question was whether there *is* a constitutional right to gay marriage, which got 49% in favor and 51% against. The second question was whether there *should be* one. That got 52% in favor and 46% against. Remarkably, CNN reported this as 49% supporting gay marriage, even though the other question would be far more indicative of support, if CNN polls were actually reliable.

Zachary
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

When a graph’s penis is pointing in the right direction, it’s always a good thing.

homer
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Older people tend to vote more than younger people. This is why same sex marriage loses at the ballot box. As the old people die off, this trend will stop.

Hall
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Whenever marriage was put to a vote for almost all constitutional amendments, it was done in order to bring more conservative voters to the polls. I don’t believe that support for same-sex marriage as a whole in the United States is that high, however I also don’t believe that it is as low as many of the marriage amendment results have shown.

Jason D
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

“Well, the claim that our opponents keep making about gay marriage polls is this: if this is true, then how come even the most liberal states keep rejecting gay marriage? If 45-46% of people support gay marriage, is it truly credible that support in a very liberal state like Maine is only 47% (despite us outspending our opponents?”

Simple.

The people who support it are

a)lying to pollsters but not at the ballot box

b)changing their minds at the ballot box

c)not enough of them are voting

I don’t know the average, but I do know that voter turnout is significantly less than the number of people eligible to vote. If 60% of eligible voters are supportive but only 20% of them actually vote, that’s a problem.

DN
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Nate Silver is the best. I can see why you guys go to him as often as you do, since he’s all about actual analysis and facts.

Lindoro Almaviva
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Oh thank God i was not the only one who saw an accidental penis

Timothy Kincaid
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Like most issues, I suspect that a handful of folks really really support same sex marriage and a smaller handful really really oppose it. The rest are subject to ads, TV shows, the weather, what they ate that morning for breakfast, what their friends said, whether their colorful waiter last night was attentive, whether the short-haired woman who changed their oil told them that no, they don’t really need a new air filter this time, and so on.

AJD
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

In addition to illustrating an unusually shaped penis, this graph also illustrates the real reason for all these marriage amendments: The religious right knows that the trend of public opinion is against them, so they want to make same-sex marriage permanently illegal. The trick is that even if public opinion is something like 75% on our side, getting rid of an amendment to the federal constitution could possibly take decades.

On the one hand, it’s easy to laugh and compare them to cornered animals, but on the other, the amount of damage that cornered animals are capable of in moments of desperation is scary.

L. Junius Brutus
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

Wow, and I thought I was sex-obsessed. I didn’t even notice. Well, another illusion gone.

customartist
August 13th, 2010 | LINK

At every opportuntiy I relate withholding Gay Rights to the potential of having the Rights of Other groups withheld.

This is not just about Gays. Which other groups would Religious people attempt to withhold or remove?

Answer: Those of any people who do not adhere to THEIR definition of Religious Morality.

cd
August 13th, 2010 | LINK

Ok, I think I’ve found the explanation for this poll. It’s essentially the same thing as this:

(May)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/135764/americans-acceptance-gay-relations-crosses-threshold.aspx
(June)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/108115/americans-evenly-divided-morality-homosexuality.aspx

(These made serious splashes internally among the social reactionaries. Of the Oh Noez the political game is lost the culture is doomed variety.)

The problem with these polls is that they measure a composite, i.e. an average between two different issues in the public mind. The one is the moral permissibility of gay sex per se, which currently has real support in the high sixties percentages. (The signature public issue remaining there is DADT.) The other is SSM, with current real support in the low forties. The midpoint between the two is in the low or mid fifties.

The fact that the composite is polling increasingly close to the midpoint between its two components suggests to me that anti-gay bias, i.e. animus and refusal to give gay people benefit of doubt, are diminishing fast in the middle of the spectrum of opinion.

I think that’s the deeper message of these polls.

Jason D
August 13th, 2010 | LINK

customartist has a point. They object to A LOT of the freedoms that exist in this country. More than once, in reference to LGBT politics I’ve heard the declaration “there’s no constitutional right to sin!”

For awhile now we’ve been low hanging fruit(pardon the pun). If issues such as drinking, gambling, and premarital sex were also in the same vulnerable place we are, they would definitely pursue those issues as well. Since they’re not, all but the most extreme among them view it as a minor annoyance having to explain that God’s Laws and Man’s Laws are different.

Someone once noted a few years back that LGBT rights are pretty much the stake through the heart of Christian dominance. Their last stand. Once this is lost (and they will lose, guaranteed) Christianity will have to reform itself to accomidate reality, or risk becoming obsolete to those who do.

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