Sunday, September 28, 2014

176.2 - Footnote: is support for marriage justice "leveling off?"

Footnote: is support for marriage justice "leveling off?"

As a Footnote to that, there's something that's been in the news of late, it's gotten some coverage, and I think more than it deserves. But for just that reason, I think it deserves mention here, if only to explain why some are making more out of it than they should.

It involves a recent survey by the widely-respected Pew Research Center, which indicates that American support for same-sex marriage could be leveling off or even declining some after several years of dramatic growth.

This most recent poll found support for same-sex marriage at 49%, a five-point drop since February. Those opposed to the idea went from 39% to 41% over the same time.

Okay, this is why I think this is getting too much attention:

First, Pew Research itself said "it's too early to know" if this "modest decline" means anything or it just an "anomaly" in the general overall upward trend reflected by its own surveys since 2001.

That idea, that this just a glitch or an anomaly is supported by other surveys which have shown some variation in support for same-sex marriage but that it remains a majority belief: Gallup has had support above 50% since it first broke that barrier in 2011 and the Public Religion Research Institute says its polls show some variance but backing remaining between 51 percent and 56 percent.

Here's the other thing: I would not be surprised at all to see a leveling or even moderate drop in support. People tend to become more conservative in face of realities as opposed to abstractions. It's easy to say "sure, I support same-sex marriage" when it's an abstraction, an idea, but when it is starting to actually happen, when the idea of it becoming a nation-wide fact based not only on the advances but on a potential US Supreme Court decision starts to be seriously discussed, there are always going to be some people who will say "Gee, I dunno, maybe I need to think more about this." So some leveling of support is to be expected.

Finally, the most important point:  One thing all the polls agree on is that the younger the age group, the greater the level of support for marriage equality, which bodes well for the future. As I just said: Justice is coming.

Sources cited in links:

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