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Top pollsters: Marriage-equality opposition is increasingly isolated

NEW YORK – A new report analyzing polling and exit polls from the 2012 election shows that the well-documented majority support for the freedom to marry is broadening and diversifying while opposition continues to diminish and is isolated to a few narrow demographic groups.

Freedom to Marry released the report today summarizing a meta-analysis of national polling data and trends on marriage equality by Joel Benenson, a leading Democratic pollster, and Jan van Lohuizen, a top Republican pollster.

In a press briefing this morning, Benenson and van Lohuizen joined Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry’s president and founder, to discuss their findings.

“In the wake of the groundbreaking 2012 marriage victories in the states and the rising bipartisan chorus of voices in favor of the freedom to marry, it’s no longer surprising to see support for the freedom to marry continuing to grow. But what’s striking is to see how isolated and dwindling the pockets of opposition are, and how strongly the center of political gravity has moved to empower those who want to get our country on the right side of history,” Wolfson said.

Benenson, president of Benenson Strategy Group, is chief pollster and senior strategist for President Barack Obama.

“It’s clear now that support for the freedom to marry has a broad base of support from a diverse cross-section of America. Strong majorities in almost all demographics support legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, while intense opposition remains confined to a few narrow demographic groups,” Benenson said.

Lohuizen, president of Voter Consumer Research, was chief pollster on the 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush.

“One of the most striking developments in recent years is the internal debate happening within the Republican Party, as these numbers show. With the under-30 supporters continuing to increase, it’s clear that the party has to take that into account – the sooner, the better,” Lohuizen said.

The full briefing can viewed HERE Among the highlights:

• All major non-evangelical religious groups are ready to legalize marriage for same-sex couples: 58% support, while just 36% oppose.

• While Tea Party Republicans strongly oppose the freedom to marry, support is growing among the GOP’s mainstream Republicans and, more dramatically, among young conservatives:

o Republicans who oppose the Tea Party: 47% support and 52% oppose

o Republicans under age 30: 51% support and 46% oppose

• Among voters younger than 65, there is widespread consensus across racial groups in favor of the freedom to marry. In fact, Latinos are the most supportive group, and African-American support has surpassed that of white voters:

o Whites younger than 65: 50% support and 46% oppose
o African-Americans younger than 65: 51% support and 40% oppose

o Hispanics younger than 65: 60% support and 31% oppose

Benenson and van Lohuizen’s report follows a joint May 2011 analysis of more than a decade of polling, which showed a dramatic shift in support for the freedom to marry.

About Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.