A new poll released Friday finds 56 percent of Americans believe gay marriage should be legal.

The New York Times and CBS News surveyed 1,644 adults by telephone on a wide range of issues.

Fifty-six percent of respondents agreed that gay couples should be allowed to marry, while 39 percent remain opposed.

A large majority (70%) of Democrats support marriage equality, versus only 40 percent of Republicans. However, a majority (56%) of Republicans under 44 support the institution. Democrats under 44 nearly universally (85%) are in favor.

While polls showing majority support for allowing gay couples to marry date back to 2010, Friday's poll sets a new high in terms of support.

Pollsters also found that 64 percent of Americans believe that laws determining whether same-sex marriage is legal should be left to each individual state to decide, rather than the federal government.

More Democrats (43%) than Republicans (20%) said that the federal government should decide the issue.

Also, a majority (53%) of Americans said that they would not vote for a candidate who holds an opposite view than theirs on same-sex marriage.