Archive for the ‘Public Opinion’ Category

Poll: Definition of Family Expanding

September 15, 2010

Yet another poll documents shifting attitudes in the United States toward same-sex marriage. The poll, conducted at Indiana University with funding from the Russell Sage Foundation, finds that for the first time, a majority of Americans define same-sex couples with children, as well as married same-sex couples, as “families.”

Pollsters say support in Illinois is Growing

August 22, 2010

The New York Times features an analysis by polling experts of the growing support nationally for same-sex marriage. This map and this chart show a state-by-state breakdown. According to a statistical technique, they estimate that about 48% of Illinoisans support same-sex marriage. This figure is not based on new Illinois polling data, but rather on an estimate derived from national poll results and demographic data. In all they estimate that marriage equality has achieved majority support in at least 17 states.

This estimate of support in Illinois far exceeds a report that came out of the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University last fall. That poll found that 29% of Illinoisans support same-sex marriage. However, that poll also allowed respondents to choose between marriage and civil unions. When combining support for marriage and support for civil unions, a majority of Illinoisans surveyed at that time supported recognition for same-sex couples.

Public Opinion Could Influence Judges

August 16, 2010

Over the weekend, I posted links to the news about encouraging trends in both local and national polls in regards to recognition of same-sex couples.

A Harvard law professor wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Supreme Court justices could be swayed by these trends, especially if they want to be looked back on well by future generations. The opinions of the sitting justices on this issue is a matter of great intrigue, given that most observers expect that the issue is likely to head to the Supreme Court.

Chicago Area Poll: Voters Support Civil Unions

August 15, 2010

According to a poll just released by the Chicago Tribune and WGN, a majority of those surveyed (54%) support legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois. However, only 42% expressed support for marriage equality. The poll did not question respondents about their religious affiliation.

Read the story here. Check out the informational graphics here. Watch the WGN report here.

Public Acceptance May Be Accelerating

August 13, 2010


Nate Silver, noted blogger and number cruncher famed for predicting Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, has been analyzing public opinion poll data. Because of considerable variation in poll data amongst pollsters, it’s hard to say with certainty where American opinion on same-sex marriage lies. Some polls show support for marriage equality remains a minority view, while at least one poll this week showed majority support for the first time.

Nonetheless, Silver says evidence suggests that acceptance seems to have grown even since the last year. Read here and here.

Interestingly, even one of America’s most famous right-wing loudmouths came out at least indifferent, if not in favor of marriage equality. Not that I care at all about what Glen Beck has to say, but his comments this week must indicate that something is changing. It wasn’t long ago that lgbt people were one of the favorite punching bags of all right-wing commentators. They seem to have moved on to immigrants and “socialists.”

Proposition 8 Overturned!

August 4, 2010

All eyes are on California today in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling against the state constitutional amendment approved by California voters two year ago that took away the right to marry the state’s same-sex couples. The forcefully worded ruling is a great cause for victory, but couples in the state can’t get married yet. The issue is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the ruling is uncertain.

What this will mean for Californians, much less those of us in other states, is far from clear. But it is clear that now is not the time to wait for the Supreme Court to take care of things. We must continue our struggle both for the passage of a civil unions bill in Illinois and the ongoing work of changing hearts and minds.

Research Shows Tolerant Trend Among Religious

June 23, 2010

A study just released from the Public Religion Research Institute dispels many sterotypes about religious people’s views on social issues.  The study, called “Beyond the God Gap,” focused on four Christian groups that the researchers say make up 75 percent of the U.S. population: white evangelical Protestants, white mainline Protestants, African-American Protestants, and Roman Catholics. In all four groups, the researchers found that views on homosexuality and other topics were more progressive than commonly believed. An article by the authors in Huffington Post sums up some key findings.

Key findings in relation to homosexuality:

  • White Evangelical Christians: Although most White evangelicals hold negative views of homosexuality, they nonetheless 63% said they support protection from employment discrimination for gay and lesbian people and 67% believe that they should be able to serve in the military. They oppose legal recognition for same-sex couples, but the picture among young evanglical Christians is different A majority of 52% support either civil unions or legal marriage for same-sex couples.
  • White Mainline Protestants: Among this group, 86% support the right of gay and lesbian people to serve in the military and 78% support employment non-discrimination protections. On the issue of marriage, mainline Protestants are more supportive than other religious groups and the general population, but fall well short of majority support. More than one-third (34%) of mainline Protestants support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and nearly the same number (36%) support civil unions for same-sex couples. Nearly half (48%) of young (age 18-34) mainline Protestants support marriage for same-sex couples.
  • African-American Protestants: More than 6-in-10 (63%) black Protestants support laws that would protect gay and lesbian people from job discrimination (Pew RLS 2007). However, a  majority (57%) oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. And nearly half say they support either marriage (27%) or civil unions (20%), compared to a similar number (48%) who do not favor any legal recognition for same-sex couples.
  • Roman Catholics: Catholics are strong supporters of most policy issues concerning gay and lesbian people. Approximately three-quarters (77%) of Catholics support allowing gay and lesbian people to serve in the military, and laws that would protect gay and lesbian people from job discrimination (75%). A solid majority (55%) of Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children. On the issue of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, Catholic views largely mirror the general public. Approximately 6-in-10 Catholics support either marriage (30%) or civil unions (31%), compared to approximately one-third (32%) who say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.

Poll: Most Deem Homosexuality Acceptable

May 25, 2010

For a second day in a row, Gallup polls reveal changing attitudes toward homosexuality in the United States. Today’s poll results show that, for the first time ever, more than half of Americans now say that homosexuality is morally acceptable. The trend toward greater acceptance is consistent across all religious categories, with a remarkable 16 percent increase in acceptance among Roman Catholics between 2006 and 2010.

Poll: Americans Grow More Open to Equality

May 24, 2010

A Gallup poll released today shows that Americans are growing more open to marriage equality for same-sex couples. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that they opposed recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, down from 57 percent last year. (Recent research has shown that the majority of Americans support civil unions, a question not addressed in today’s poll. See Wikipedia for an overview.)

Two areas of special interest in today’s poll results:

Religion – Americans who say that religion is “very important” in their lives oppose same sex marriage by a much wider margin than those who say that religion is “fairly important” or “not important” to them. While this is disheartening, I think this underscores the importance of outreach to communities of faith.

Region – Of the four national regions considered by the poll, two have a majority in favor of marriage equality: East and West. The poll shows that the Midwest has 40 percent support for the freedom to marry, but it is hard to say what that means for Illinois since the Midwest is a large region and there is no state-by-state breakdown.