A poll released Wednesday finds a record number of Californians support gay marriage.

The survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found 50 percent of adults agree that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, with 45 percent opposed.

In 2000, the first year pollsters asked the question, only 39 percent of Californians favored gay marriage, while 55% opposed it. Support has hoovered at about 45% for much of the decade.

The poll also found an overwhelming majority of Californians (75%) support President Obama's call to end “don't ask, don't tell,” the 1993 law that forbids gay troops from serving openly. Nineteen percent say they remain opposed to repeal of the law.

Earlier in the year, gay rights advocates decided to put off mounting a challenge this year to Californian's gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2008. Among the reasons cited for the postponement was stagnant poll numbers.

Support for gay marriage is highest among Democrats (64%), but a majority (67%) of Republicans still oppose the institution. Opposition is strongest in rural areas such as the Central Valley.

Pollsters contacted 2,002 California adults by phone from March 9-16.