New poll finds same-sex marriage support in every generation except elders - Florida Politics

New poll finds same-sex marriage support in every generation except elders

The generational divide on gay marriage just crossed another threshold as a new poll finds that majorities of Americans in every age bracket now support same-sex marriage except for the oldest, those in the Silent Generation.

The latest biennial survey by the Pew Research Center finds for the first time that a majority of those polled in the Baby Boomer Generation now support same-sex marriage.

That extends support into older brackets into what always has shown a clear generational gap in all of Pew’s polls on same-sex marriage. For many years the surveys have shown that the younger the voters the more likely they are to support gay marriage. But the support has been growing across the board, and now that support has crept into the over-50 crowd.

Overall, the survey found 62 percent of American adults support gay marriage, and 32 percent oppose.

“Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue,” Pew declared in a write-up on the survey, conducted June 8-18, among a national sample of 2,504 adults, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Just six years ago, in 2010, those supporting gay marriage exceeded those opposing it for the first time. The gap has widened ever since.

And it has most widened among generational lines. In the latest survey, 74 percent of  people in the Millennial Generation, born after 1980, supported gay marriage; 65 percent in Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; 56 percent in the Baby Boomer Generation, born from 1946 to 1964; and 41 percent in the Silent Generation, who were born prior to 1946.

Support grew for all four generations, and most for baby boomers, who increased their support from 45 percent in the last Pew survey taken in the spring of 2015.

There remain strong splits on the topic between political parties, and between people of various religious faiths. Splits occurred but were less pronounced among racial and ethnic boundaries, and among education levels, with all racial, ethnic, and education level groups now showing majorities supporting gay marriage.

Republicans are almost split on the issue now, with 48 percent saying they oppose same-sex marriage, while 47 percent say they support. That one-point gap has fallen from 32 points five years ago. Democrats have supported same-sex marriage since at least 2007, and now the support is overwhelming, with 76 percent saying yes, and 19 percent saying no.

Among religious faiths, majorities of white evangelical Christians and black Protestant Christians still oppose same-sex marriage. But support in both groups is growing. White evangelical support has risen from 14 percent in the 2007 Pew survey, to 35 percent this month. Black Protestant Christians support has increased from 24 percent in 2007 to 44 percent now.

There also is a clear generational difference that shows up when Pew split out Republicans and white evangelical Christians by age; each younger generation shows more support than its elders.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.
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