Does a majority of Americans really support gay marriage? Maybe not.

Washington Post 14 May 2012
Does a majority of the country really support gay marriage? As is often true in polling, it depends on how you ask the question. A Gallup poll last week showed that 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, but a CBS News/New York Times pollout today shows that only 38 percent support it. The difference: Gallup gave voters just two options — support or oppose — while the CBS/NYT poll added a third, civil unions. When given that third choice, polls show that it draws significantly from both the pro-gay marriage and anti-gay marriage camps, but in the end, overall support for gay marriage drops well below a majority. Mostly, though, it just shows how mushy the middle is on this issue. While there are certainly passionate supporters and opponents, there are just as many people who are lukewarm (as evidenced by a Gallup poll last week). And their responses are highly dependent on how the question is asked. One Republican pollster said support for gay marriage has been oversold because of that binary choice.

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