Pew Poll Finds Support for Legal Abortion Goes Up, So Does Support for Gay Marriage

Just when you think our country has gone totally crazy, you realize there are a few sane people left -- actually, it turns out, they're the majority. Whew!

A new poll from Pew Research reports that 54 percent of folks support legal abortion in all or most cases, compared to just 42 percent who think it should be illegal in all or most cases. This is a big jump from just two years ago when the numbers where 46 in favor to 44 opposed.

And of course, the numbers break down according to party line:

Support for legal abortion is higher among Democrats and independents than among Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats (65%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do 58% of independents. Among Republicans, just 34% support legal abortion.

So, good news on the growing poll numbers, but still frustrating that this continues to be a topic of debate at all.

Frustrating as well is the baby steps toward equality for same-sex couples. The Pew poll found that 45 percent are in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, compared to 46 who are against. While things appear to be about even now, the trend is toward legalization, with last year's numbers being 48 against to 42 supporting. And it's a marked improvement since 1996 when only 27 percent of folks were in favor of gay marriage.

The breakdown here is along party line as well as geography:

Majorities of the public now support same-sex marriage in the Northeast (59% in favor) and West (56%). In many states in those regions, efforts to legalize same-sex marriage have been underway or have already succeeded. By contrast, support is much lower in the Midwest (40% favor) and the South (34%).

As has been the case since 1996, there is a wide partisan division on the question of same-sex marriage. Currently 57% of Democrats favor making it legal, while only 23% of Republicans agree. Independents (at 51% in favor) are more similar to Democrats than to Republicans, in part because 46% of Republican-leaning independents are supportive of same-sex marriage, along with 58% of independents who lean Democratic.



AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at March 7, 2011, 12:36pm