Alex Blaze

Fun maps on marriage public opinion by state

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 23, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: California, CNN, Gallup Poll, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, poll, Prop. 8, state

Columbia politics professors Gelman, Lax, and Phillips (whose statistical work I previously posted on Bilerico), have an analysis piece in the NY Times estimating state-level support for same-sex marriage. They use 2008 state-level projections, demographic information, and estimates of current national support (either 45% or 50%, depending on the poll you use) to get their results. Here's what they think is the case if 50% of Americans support same-sex marriage in 2010:


If it's 45%, here's how they theorize its distribution:


Here's 2008:


That's a lot of change in just two years, no matter which polls are telling the truth. The 50% map puts support in California above 60%, which is what Equality California's donors said they were looking for before they put a ballot initiative for same-sex marriage back on the ballot (which may not even be necessary).

It appears a tipping point has been reached in many states, as change in public opinion is coming faster and faster. But who knows how that'll affects policy as 89% of people support workplace protections while Congress can't pass ENDA. DOMA repeal could still take a while.

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This is encouraging. However,
(1) polls have limited utility, and do not necessarily reflect the pool of people who actually go to vote on election day;
(2) some of the pro-equality supporters are "soft" supporters who will change their mind during the course of a referendum campaign.

This is very exciting positive stuff. Let's hope this info reflects a truthful change for the better in tolerance.

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Interesting that they have Indiana on the cusp in the first map.

"Marriage" is the wrong question. We poll much better when you substitute "equality."

I'm sure there are plenty of other questions that get more yeses than same-sex marriage, but they aren't really the point of this study.

My point was more people support "equality" in polling than same-sex marriage. So, the "marriage" question is less important for the LGBT Community.

Yeah, but my response would be that a lot of people interpret "equality" to mean "civil unions," if they're even thinking of LGBT people at all when someone asks them about "equality." Obama just came out as pro lgbt equality last week but against same-sex marriage. I think it's worth asking the concrete question.

I disagree Alex. We diminish our support by going past the simple concept of "equality." Our specific issues invite religious or political beliefs which only hurt us.

If people are asked about our equality without any mention of religion or politics, two-thirds of our fellow citizens support us. That would be a powerful majority. The word "Marriage" invites religious beliefs and that subtracts a lot of support that would otherwise be garnered.

Equality is a basic human principle that most humans want to support. We are best served by not confusing the issue.

Another take away I get from this is that, based on time as a causal indicator, this shows that states where it has been legal, tends to increase public support. So even temporary victories seem to work which goes with my own conventional wisdom. (As trivial as this might seem, it seems to make a state look more ridiculous the number of times they have to go back and forth on the matter thus increasing public support)