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Americans Still Unclear on Public Support for Gay Marriage

Americans Still Unclear on Public Support for Gay Marriage

Story Highlights

  • 48% believe that most Americans support gay marriage
  • 49% believe that most Americans oppose gay marriage

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. adults increasingly believe the American public supports same-sex marriage, with 48% saying they think a majority favors it -- a higher percentage than Gallup found in three polls over the prior decade. The current percentage who say they believe the public supports gay marriage is about the same as the percent who say they believe a majority is opposed to it (49%). In reality, consistent majorities have supported same-sex marriage since 2012, including 67% in the latest update.


Line graph. Americans' perceptions of U.S. support for legal same-sex marriage. In Gallup's May 1-13 survey, 49% say they believe that most Americans' are opposed to same-sex marriage, and 48% believe that most are in favor of it.

These data are from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-13.

In two polls in 2012 and 2013, most Americans believed the public opposed same-sex marriage. At that time, Gallup found slim majorities of support for gay marriage, but public sentiments on the issue were mixed, with the actual level of support inching just past the level of opposition in both polls.

Support for gay marriage was at a clear majority level by 2015, reaching the 60% mark for the first time that year. Coincidentally, a greater percentage of Americans, 42%, perceived majority support than had in the past.

Americans' perceptions of public opinion are sometimes off base. Gallup has found that assessments of the size of the "pro-choice" camp on the issue of abortion have been overestimated. Meanwhile, on the issue of gay marriage, the liberal position has been underestimated.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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