The majority of New Jersey voters support same-sex marriage equality, and by a wide margin, despite a threatened veto and a verbal assault by Governor Chris Christie last month on not only civil marriage equality, but all civil rights. The New Jersey state Senate yesterday passed a same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 24-16, and the Assembly is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, forcing Governor Christie to act against the majority if he keeps his veto threat.
New Jersey voters support gay marriage 54% to 35%, according to a just-released Rutgers-Eagleton poll, from New Jersey-based Rutgers University. Opposition to gay marriage has been only 40% or less for at least two years, and the 54% represents an eight-point increase in just over two years.
“Over the past two years there has been a clear shift towards support for same-sex marriage in national polling and in New Jersey,” said Rutgers-Eagleton Poll director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “This shift has occurred pretty much across the spectrum, with the exception of the strongly religious and most conservative voters. And while there has been little aggregate change since this reintroduction of the marriage bill we are seeing some ideological polarization as the debate develops.”
Majority support for legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey cuts across demographic groups. Self-identified liberals are the most supportive, at 81 percent, while 63 percent of Democrats say they favor legalization. Majorities of moderates (55 percent) and independent voters (56 percent) are also in favor. Younger voters are overwhelmingly supportive, with three-quarters of those under 30 supporting gay marriage. Except for the oldest voters, other age groups are also supportive: 57 percent of those 30 to 49 years old express support for legalization, along with 55 percent of those 50 to 64 years old.
Despite ongoing expressions of concern by Catholic Church leadership, a 52 percent majority of Catholic voters continue to support legalizing same-sex marriage. Protestant voters, however, are less supportive, with only 43 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed.
“Support for legalizing same-sex marriage runs deep in New Jersey, with limited exceptions,” said Redlawsk. “And while there is no doubt that many of those who oppose the idea feel strongly about it, most New Jerseyans in most demographic groups think it is time to make same-sex marriage legal.”
Strong opposition to gay marriage does remain within certain groups. Voters who are born-again or evangelical Christians are strongly opposed, with 7 in 10 against legalizing gay marriage.
Hat tip: Think Progress
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