Increasingly, Americans are moving toward supporting legal recognition of same-sex marriages, a trend driven not by younger people aging into the voting population, but by those already over 18 changing their minds, according to a new study.
The research, reported Thursday by the centrist Third Way think tank, was an analysis of 98 separate surveys on same-sex marriage.
The think tank found that 75% of the increase in support for gay marriage has come from Americans reconsidering the issue. Only one-quarter of the change comes from young people coming of voting age.
That finding defies conventional wisdom, which suggests that more progressive-minded youths had slowly been overwhelming the opinions of conservative older voters on the issue. It helps explain how same-sex marriage has prospects of gaining popular support this year, after voters in recent years consistently rejected state ballot measures to recognize such marriages. The practice has gained wide acceptance in popular culture — notably in “Modern Family” and other popular television shows.
The review of a total of 128,000 poll responses showed support for gay marriage increasing among all demographic groups, including evangelical voters and African Americans — two segments of the population that have been most adamantly opposed.