A majority of Washington voters support gay marriage, a new poll has found.

According to the survey by the University of Washington Center for Survey Research, 55 percent of respondents said they would vote against a ballot initiative that attempted to repeal a gay marriage law.

Pollsters asked: “Next year the legislature could pass a law allowing gay and lesbian couples to get married. If that happens, there could be a referendum in which voters would be asked to approve or reject the law. Would you vote YES – that is, to keep a law in place allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry OR would you vote NO, against the law – to make it so that gay and lesbian couples could not marry?”

Forty-seven percent of the 938 registered voters surveyed from October 10-30 said they would strongly favor keeping the law, while another 8 percent said they would not strongly favor it. Thirty-eight percent (31% strongly, 7% not strongly) said they would vote against keeping the law.

However, only 43 percent of voters say gay marriage should be legalized, 22 percent favor giving gay couples all the legal protections of marriage without the name and 15 percent favor some protections.

Only 17 percent of respondents said the government should not recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples.