A recent Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, is the third national poll in as many months to find majority support for same-sex marriage: a slim majority (51%) of Americans now favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 43% percent who are opposed.
The results of the three polls are remarkably consistent even though the other two surveys were conducted by different organizations using different question wordings.
Majority also supports adoption by gay and lesbian couples.
A majority (56%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, compared to 36% who are opposed.
Religious & political differences persist.
There is significant difference in support for same-sex marriage across religious and political affiliation groups.
A solid majority of Catholics and white mainline Protestants (56% and 55% respectively) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to only 23% of white evangelical Protestants. Nearly 8-in-10 (77%) Americans who are not affiliated with any religion support same-sex marriage.
More than 6-in-10 (61%) Democrats and a majority (55%) of political independents support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. In contrast, less than 4-in-10 (37%) Republicans and only 34% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement support same-sex marriage.
Strong supporters now equal strong opponents.
There are now as many Americans who strongly support same-sex marriage as strongly oppose it. One-in-four (24%) Americans report that they strongly favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, equal to the number who strongly oppose it (25%).
A recent poll conducted by The Washington Post/ABC News also found this parity among strong supporters and strong opponents.
Support extends beyond youngest Americans.
Sixty-one percent of 18-34 year olds support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, but so do nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Americans between the ages of 35 and 49.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey similarly found support extending into older age groups, with 59% of Americans ages 35 to 49 agreeing that marriages between gay and lesbian couples should be recognized by the law as valid.