Poll: Majority of Americans support same-sex marriage rights

Just two days after the Supreme Court announced it’ll hear federal gay marriage cases, Politico releases a new poll showing that a majority of Americans nationwide support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The poll was conducted among 1,000 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.1 points. Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • Overall: 40% want full marriage rights, 30% favor civil unions only, and 24% think gay couples should have no rights at all.
  • Among Democrats: 60% for full legal marriage, 19% for civil unions, 16% for no rights at all.
  • Among Republicans: 40% for civil unions, 37% for no rights at all, and just 17% for full legal marriage.
  • There were some other predictable numbers in the mix, like single people being more supportive of full legal rights than married people, and church-goers being less supportive of marriage rights than non-church types. But there were also some unexpected surprises in there, like 42% of Roman Catholics overall favoring full marriage rights.

    The poll reflects a country generally leaning left at the moment—one that re-elected Barack Obama president, increased a Democratic majority in Senate, one that supports Obamacare and which favors raising taxes on the wealthiest of us. By comparison the makeup of the Supreme Court is further to the right—a four-four split with Justice Kennedy usually serving as the tie-breaker.

    But this summer George W. Bush’s pick Chief Justice Roberts surprised everyone by switching to the left and upholding Obamacare. If Roberts is adapting his perspective to meet the zeitgeist, gay couples could get a huge victory this spring. Roberts vs. Scalia: Fight!

    Politico’s poll was conducted from December 2-6, before the Supreme Court announced it’ll decide on the issue.