A majority of New Jersey voters say gay marriage should be legal, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Friday.

Fifty-two percent of the 903 adults contacted by telephone (landline and cell phone) from October 6-9 said “same-sex marriage” should be legalized. Approval jumps up to 61 percent when the term “marriage equality” is substituted.

Opposed to the union are 39 percent when the term “same-sex marriage” is used and 27 percent when the term is exchanged with “marriage equality.”

“Support for legalizing same-sex relations in New Jersey continues to be solid,” said poll Director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Young people are overwhelmingly in favor, though a majority of all age groups is supportive, except for those 65 and over. Whatever it is called, support for state recognition of same-sex marriage remains strong and most likely will grow over time.”

Least likely to be affected by changing the terminology of the question are Republicans, people with some college education and those with a gay or lesbian family member, friend or acquaintance.

“Republicans are clearly not moved by a change in terminology,” noted Redlawsk. “This suggest that their opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage is deep and unlike to change easily. Likewise, those with some college education, who are already pretty supportive of gay marriage, do not become more so simply because the words change.”

Only 36 percent of Republicans support gay marriage, regardless of how the question is framed.