Visualized: American Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage

Blue: Support | Light Green: Plurality opposed | Dark Green: Majority opposed


On this week’s America Visualized, we take a look at public opinion on state-recognized same-sex marriages. All data used in making the maps above comes from the PRRI, the Public Religion Research Institute.

Data was collected by means of telephone and cell phone interviews and sample size numbers above 40,000 interviewees with a margin of error of 0.6% per state on average. Telephone interviewees were selected from a stratified pool of potential candidates while cell phone interviewees were dialed randomly. Stratification was maintained in accordance with U.S. Census definitions of age, education, race, region, and ethnicity. Other specifics were self-identified by interviewees. e.g. “What party do you identify with?”

Some interesting points from the data:

  1. Louisiana and South Carolina, states with a plurality opposing state-recognized same-sex marriage in 2017’s results have since shifted towards support of same-sex marriage in this year’s released results.
  2. Arkansas and West Virginia, states with a majority opposing state-recognized same-sex marriage in 2017’s results have shifted straight over to support of same-sex marriage in this year’s results.
  3. Mississippi shifted from majority opposition of same-sex marriage to only a plurality opposed to same-sex marriage this year. This can largely be attributed to black mainline Protestants and the metropolitan area of Jackson shifting towards support of same-sex marriage.
  4. Alabama, on the other hand, distinguishes itself as the one state that has regressed in this regard, shifting from plurality opposition of same-sex marriage to majority opposition.

Demographic points of interest from this year’s results:

  1. Religious groups in overwhelming support of same-sex marriage have continued to grow in their support. (77%) of Jewish Americans, (80%) of Buddhists, and (75%) of Hindus continue to support same-sex marriage at ever-increasing rates.

White mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage at increasingly high rates (67%), with Catholics supporting it at a similar rate of 66%. 2018’s results also mark the first year in which a clear majority of Muslim Americans support state-recognized same-sex marriage (51%).

Despite unanimous growth in support among all religious demographics, two major religious demographics continue opposing state-recognized same-sex marriage, though at ever-declining rates. As of 2018’s results, 58% of white evangelical Protestants oppose same-sex marriage, while Mormons oppose same-sex marriage at similar rates (53%).

Among parties, a significant generational gap becomes evident, though more so with Republicans than Democrats. On the right, young (18-29 year-old) Republicans support same-sex marriage at 59%, whereas 28% of Republicans older than 65 support it. On the left, this generational divide is evident, though to a lesser degree, with 87% of young Democrats and 63% of older Democrats supporting it.

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