Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In the Court of Public Opinion, This One Is Settled


On most social issues, public opinion has been shifting significantly to the left over time. Nowhere has this been more apparent than on the issue of same-sex marriage. A new Pew report on the issue has trend data that surprised even me. As the report notes:
By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed.
Views on same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than favored (42%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. In the past year alone, support has increased seven percentage points: In March 2016, 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults finds striking increases in support for same-sex marriage among some demographic and partisan groups that, until recently, had broadly opposed it.
The latter groups that have shifted dramatically toward support for same-sex marriage include Baby Boomers, African-Americans and, incredibly, Republicans and younger white evangelicals. 

At this point, all racial groups, all age groups including seniors, all education groups, all income groups and all regions support same-sex marriage. This is a truly astonishing and seismic change in a country that 20 years ago opposed same-sex marriage by 68-27.

Sometimes things really do change and change very fast--and in a positive direction. There's a lesson there.

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