A Pew poll has 65% of Democrats supporting gay marriage, which is up from 50% in 2008. Just 24% of Republicans feel the same way, which is barely up from 19% in 2008. 51% of independents favor gay marriage while 40% oppose it.
While President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage earlier this year drew significant news coverage and public interest, its effect on public opinion has been limited. Two consecutive national surveys conducted since May 9, when Obama made his announcement, show 48% in favor of allowing gay marriage and 44% opposed. This is virtually unchanged from a survey conducted in April, before the president’s statement.
Part of the long-term growth in support for gay marriage to changing public views about homosexuality in general. A Los Angeles Times survey in 1985 found just 20% of the public believed that homosexuality was something that people are born with, while twice as many (42%) said it was just the way some people prefer to live. Today, the balance of opinion is quite different: 41% say homosexuality is something people are born with, while 35% say it is a personal preference. But views of homosexuality have changed relatively slowly, if at all, in recent years.