More than two-thirds of Catholics and an overwhelming majority of Democrats support gay unions, a new New York Times/CBS News poll found.

According to the nationwide poll, 63 percent of Americans support recognizing gay and lesbian couples with either marriage (39%) or civil unions (24%). Thirty-two percent said there should be no recognition and 5 percent gave no opinion.

The survey, released Tuesday, is based on 1,197 telephone interviews conducted between February 8-13 on land lines and cellphones.

Forty-four percent of Catholics surveyed favored marriage, and 25 percent preferred civil unions. Twenty-four percent said gay couples should not be recognized by the government.

A majority (57%) of evangelical Christians said there should not be legal recognition of gay unions. Eighteen percent said they favored marriage, while 25 percent supported civil unions.

Stark differences can also be seen between Republicans and Democrats.

A large majority (73%) of Democrats said they support marriage (56%) or civil unions (17%) for gay and lesbian couples, while 23 percent said there should be no legal recognition. But 47 percent of Republicans oppose any recognition of a gay couple's relationship. A scant 17 percent said they favor marriage, while a larger number, 33 percent, support civil unions.