A majority of New Jersey voters favor
the legalization of gay marriage, a new poll found.
Fifty-two percent of respondents said
they support marriage equality, 32 percent were opposed, and 16
percent unsure. Pollsters at Rutgers University's the Eagleton
Center for Public Interest Polling surveyed 615 registered voters by
telephone from August 9 – 15. The poll has a margin of error of
+/- 3.9 percentage points.
“We were surprised by the margin
favoring gay marriage, which is much greater than previously
reported,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton
Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers.
“While the number of supporters has
grown only a little, the number directly opposing gay marriage has
fallen significantly. At the same time, more people say they are
unsure or refuse to answer the question. These may be voters who are
uncomfortable with gay marriage but who don't want to express direct
opposition, suggesting support is not as lopsided as it appears.”
According to the poll, 61 percent of
Democrats support marriage equality, while 51 percent of Republicans
are opposed, and 58 percent of independents are in favor.
Redlawsk noted that Republicans and
conservatives were more likely to avoid the question.
“We see an interesting pattern, with
Republicans and conservatives much more likely to say 'don't know' to
the gay marriage question. This suggests either some measure of
uncertainty and changing attitudes by these voters, or perhaps
reluctance to express a negative view in a state known for support of
gay rights,” he said in a
A large majority (58%) of respondents
also support civil unions, while only 26 percent oppose them.
New Jersey is among the five states
that recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. In Hawaii,
Illinois, Delaware and, most recently, Rhode Island lawmakers
approved legislation legalizing civil unions. In New Jersey,
however, civil unions were approved by the Legislature to remedy a
state Supreme Court ruling declaring the state's ban on gay marriage
of Pennsylvanians support gay marriage.)