Nate Silver Examines Growing Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2013

On Tuesday, Nate Silver examined national and state-level polling data on the growing support for marriage equality, and while he’s not yet ready to announce that a majority of Americans support marriage equality — there is still a lot of variation in the polls — he does say that supporters now outnumber opponents nationally:

What’s clearer is the long-term trend. The chart below documents national polls on same-sex marriage since 1996, as according to PollingReport.com. (It excludes polls that offer a three-way choice between same-sex marriage, civil unions, and no legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, focusing on those that require a binary choice.) The polls are accompanied by a trendline determined through Loess regression to reflect the change in public opinion over time.

Click to enlarge.

In the past, we have sometimes considered the possibility that support for same-sex marriage is increasing at a faster rate than before. The data seems to suggest, however, that the increase in support has been reasonably steady since about 2004.

Silver notes however that the linear increase in support since 2004 nationally does not necessarily mean that support has been increasing steadily in all fifty states:

In 2011, I published a model projecting ballot initiative results for same-sex marriage based on two scenarios: one which assumed a linear increase in support, and the other which assumed an accelerating trend.

In general, the more conservative linear model was closer to the mark in forecasting the 2012 results. It predicted that 48.8 percent of voters would vote in support of same-sex marriage on average among the five states, fairly close to the actual figure of 50.1 percent. By contrast, the accelerated model predicted that 53.6 percent would vote to support same-sex marriage in these states.

…However, the predictions were not especially accurate when looking at individual states. Both versions of the model underestimated same-sex marriage support in Maryland and Minnesota, while both versions overestimated it in Maine, North Carolina and Washington.

But what about future predictions in the states? After all, that’s why we read Nate Silver, isn’t it? Well, here it is. Silver predicts that by 2016, voters in 32 states would approve same-sex marriage legislation, and by 2020, voters in 44 states would do so — including even Texas and Oklahoma. Readers in Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, Delaware, take heart: there’s no good reason for you guys not having marriage equality soon. Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi: it’s gonna be a while.

SharonB

March 27th, 2013

Actuary tables, actually.

Rickles58

March 27th, 2013

The case for Florida looks encouraging until you consider that it takes 60% to pass an ammendment. I assume that applies to repealing an ammendment as well. That means that we still won’t have a large enough majority until sometime after 2020.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 27th, 2013

And that is preside lay why we do not wait for the goodness of the people to bestow rights upon us when THEY feel ready. That is why I believe that there has to be a concerned efforts to not only seek the SCOTUS to recognize our constitutional right to marry whomever we choose, but also an effort to repeal these state’s DOMAs not only in the ballot box but also in the courts. The SCOTUS have to have a clear direction that this is where the country wants to move and the next 10 years are going to be critical.

Josh

March 29th, 2013

He himself says his better model was still quite far off last time around. I’m not sure why we should believe him now. His new model does take into account “more than a dozen demographic characteristics”. I hope he picked the right ones this time.

His demographic analysis seems to just give baseline numbers. The actual predictions are based on a really simplistic, constant 6% per 4 year growth law in each state, starting from the 2012 numbers cooked up from demographic predictions. At least nationally, this prediction method is roughly suggested by his Loess regression, but only roughly since the trend completely shifted in 2004. Who knows, maybe there’ll be another shift? Eventually the linear model will break down (can’t have >100% support), but when?

I think the most important point the article makes is this: “As a rule of thumb, perhaps about half of the increase in support for same sex-marriage is attributable to generational turnover”. From another of his links, young people have 70%+ support for SSM, which indicates that at least half of the current linear trend will continue for the foreseeable future, up to a ceiling of about 70%, with the rate of increase slowing as particularly opposed generations stop getting replaced. So, at the least, in a remarkably pessimistic scenario, things are looking good over the next few decades. I don’t think there’s enough data to make more optimistic predictions with reasonable certainty.

Stewart

April 10th, 2013

FOR GAYS ONLY: Jesus predicted that just before His return as Judge, there will be a strange, spontaneous, mind-twisting fad – a global steamroller notable for its speed, boldness, violence, and impudent in-your-face openness. In Luke 17 He called this worldwide craze the repeat of the “days of Lot” (see Genesis 19 for details). By helping to fulfill this worldwide mania quietly coordinated by unseen spirit beings, gays are actually hurrying up Christ’s return to earth and making the Bible even more believable!
They’ve actually invented strange architecture: closets opening not on to bedrooms but on to Main Streets where kids can see naked men having sex in “Madam” Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco Brothel District. We wonder how soon S.F.’s underground saint – San Andreas – will get a 10-point jolt out of what goes on over his head (see the dire prediction about cities in Revelation 16:19)!
What’s really scary is the “reprobate mind” phrase in Romans 1:28. A person can sear his conscience so much God turns him over to S, the universal leader of evil who can turn such a person into Mr. Possessed with a super-human strength that many cops together have trouble restraining.
Remember, gays don’t have to stay bound to their slavery. Their emancipation is found in a 5-letter name starting with J – no, not James or Julia. As soon as they can find out the all-powerful J name, gays will really start living!

Priya Lynn

April 10th, 2013

Stewart, gayness is no more slavery than heterosexuality is. Most gays are quite happy with their gayness.

Its a pretty rare event for someone to have sex in the streets, that you would try to portray this as typical of all gays shows how you intend to unjustly harm the innocent – you’re not a good person Stewart.

For two thousand years people have looked at isolated incidences and convinced themselves times are so terrible the return of Jesus is imminent. I know you love your revenge fantasies Stewart, but Jesus ain’t coming, not now, not ever.

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