New poll shows greater acceptance of gay marriage if you personally know someone gay

activism, lgbt, politics Add comments

A new USA Today/Gallup poll released yesterday shows a strong correlation between personally knowing someone who is gay or lesbian and supporting gay marriage. Some highlights from the poll below.

When looking at gay relationships in general, those polled tend to have a more favorable view if they personally know someone who is gay or lesbian:


But as soon as the term “gay marriage” is introduced, the numbers slip dramatically:


And when asking how gay marriage will affect society, the drop is almost as dramatic:


And the poll summary:

The Gallup Poll data reviewed above show conclusively that many views toward gay and lesbian issues are related — in some instances, strongly so — to personal experience with individuals who are gay or lesbian. There are two plausible explanations for this relationship. One is that exposure to gays and lesbians leads to greater acceptance, regardless of one’s ideological leanings. The second is that people who are more accepting of gays and lesbians are more likely to put themselves into situations in which they are exposed to gays and lesbians — in terms of cities and regions of residence, as well as workplace and social choices. Both of these processes are at work, though it is difficult to say which is more important.

Whatever the direction of causality, the data do make a strong case that knowing someone who is gay or lesbian fosters more accepting attitudes on many of the issues surrounding gay and lesbian relations today.

It’s great to see that the numbers really seem to bear out the “get to know us” strategy which is getting pushed pretty hard now by all the marriage equality groups. Changing hearts and minds by letting them into our hearts and minds may be most durable solution, and much more permanent than any court ruling or vote.

Post by ILO on 05/30/09 at 1:37 am