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Poll: Republican, evangelical opposition to same sex marriage rights plummets

Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

* From the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

There has been a significant increase in support in Illinois for legalizing gay marriage, according to a series of polls by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

The issue is back in the news with the U.S. Supreme Court considering marriage equality issues, and Institute polls show a dramatic evolution of support in the state during the past six years.

The most recent Simon Poll, conducted Feb. 28 to March 10, shows 54.9 percent of registered Illinois voters in support of marriage equality; 20.0 percent favoring civil unions; 18.4 percent opposed to both, and 6.7 percent unsure. The survey of 1,000 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Opposition to gay marriage has faded across the board in the state, including among Republicans, conservatives and evangelicals.

The issue of gay marriage has appeared in nearly every statewide Simon Poll since 2009. In that time, opinion has gone from being almost equally divided between those favoring full-marriage rights or civil unions versus no legal recognition at all, also called “traditional marriage,” to a solid majority favoring full-marriage rights for the past three Simon Polls since February 2014.

When support for civil unions is incorporated, three-fourths of Illinoisans (74.9 percent) now see a place for legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

* More…

The poll also found:

    • Support for marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples is not limited to liberals and Democrats. Among Illinois Republicans, over two-thirds (67.8 percent) support some type of legal recognition with 38.0 percent of respondents in the latest Simon Poll (March 2015) favoring full-marriage equality and with another 29.8 percent favoring civil unions. Just over a quarter (27.7 percent) of GOP supporters say there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples.

The 2015 result is notable compared to its 2009 counterpart, in which nearly half (47.7 percent) of Republicans took the no-legal-rights stance and only one in ten favored full marriage rights.

    • Opposition to legal recognition among evangelicals in Illinois has also faded. In 2009, 70.9 percent opposed any legal recognition for same-sex relationships. Today, that number is 45.7 percent. There are 49.1 percent of evangelicals who either support gay marriage or civil unions.

In 2009, only 4.1 percent of evangelicals favored full recognition. Today, that figure is 23.4 percent.

“Perhaps the most surprising development is the transforming views among evangelicals,” said Kent Dolezal, Simon Graduate Research Fellow. “Finding more in support of some legal recognition than not is a development which may have an impact going into the Republican presidential primaries.”

    • Opinion among Independents also underwent a shift between the February 2013 and February 2014 Simon Poll. Although a clear majority of Independents favored some sort of legal recognition by 2013, February 2014 saw support for full legal rights reach nearly 60 percent. In the same time frame, those favoring civil unions dropped from 46 percent to 14 percent.

    • Support is strongest among Democrats, with over 60 percent in favor of full rights since 2013, up from four in ten in 2009. From an ideological perspective, liberals currently favor marriage equality at a rate topping 75 percent. Moderates have seen their support go from just over one-third (33.6 percent) in 2009 to nearly two-thirds (65.9 percent) in the latest Simon Poll.

    • From 2010 to 2015, conservative views shifted dramatically. In 2010, 15.6 percent of conservatives supported same-sex marriage. By, this year, that figure grew to 31.8 percent. Those who opposed any legal recognition of same-sex marriage dropped from 41.7 percent to 29.2 percent.

    • At 66.5 percent, marriage equality sees its strongest support in Chicago, a nearly 30-point increase since 2009. The Chicago suburbs see majority support (55.6 percent), with Downstate residents nearing half at 46 percent. Downstate results also demonstrate the dramatic 2013-14 shift when support went from 27.8 percent to 42.5 percent.

More here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:38 am:

    Dear Sen. Oberweis,

    Trying to take out Pat Brady on SSM is starting to look more and more like a stain.

    We all “evolve”, we all “learn”, we just don’t forget.

    Remember that now in the Senate.

    To the 62 GOP GA “Dopes” voting against SSM when you had the chance;

    Wrong. Side. Of. History.

    Feel better?

    Sadly, this is Ron Sandack’s high water mark, when he was at his best. He won on the Floor, he won in the Precincts, and yet, he folds his tent to those that still scare him. What a shame.


  2. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:46 am:

    I am not sure if there is so much support as there is a realization that the SSM movement is better funded and organized. Money talks and it moved lots of votes. The lack of opposition may be a reflection of the fact that there is no percentage in fighting an uphill battle on an uneven playing field. This is not a winning issue in present day Illinois politics. Fred Eychaner, alone, has spent tens of millions of dollars influencing legislators with campaign contributions.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:50 am:

    ===Fred Eychaner, alone, has spent tens of millions of dollars influencing legislators with campaign contributions.===

    Total contributions to all Illinois candidates since 1994: $8,781,559.02

    Also, too, why do you assume that voters are making a tactical decision? That almost never happens.


  4. - MrJM - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:51 am:

    “Sadly, this is Ron Sandack’s high water mark, when he was at his best. He won on the Floor, he won in the Precincts, and yet, he folds his tent to those that still scare him. What a shame.”

    The high water mark — or a wildly anomalous outlier that should be tossed-out when determining the values of a statistically significant Sandack dataset.

    I lean towards the latter explanation.

    – MrJM


  5. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:52 am:

    The history books will show that Illinois was one of eleven states to legalize gay marriage via its elected representatives or popular vote. Good on the Land of Lincoln.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:57 am:

    - MrJM -,

    You may be right. I guess I have/had hope for the Owl, and that hope was based on this … “outlier”.

    I will agree, since defeating Uihile, and then Rauner becoming the GOP Nominee, that SSM vote is, no question, an outlier.

    Much respect.


  7. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:05 am:

    I was not talking about individual voters per se. I was referring to the opposition groups who would lobby or organize against SSM. These forces have conceded defeat in Illinois. In terms of shaping public opinion, hearing no opposition sometimes leads people to go with the flow. All of the major media forces in Illinois are pro SSM as far as I can see.


  8. - Jack Stephens - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:06 am:

    *interracial marriage.

    Sorry hard to type on a smart phone.


  9. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:07 am:

    An added thought, Eychaner’s millions have not been limited to Illinois candidates exclusively. He has supported this issue across a broad spectrum. He has contributed to national candidates also.


  10. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:08 am:

    I think folks have just thought about it and have changed their minds. Sounds simple, but I really think most folks think basically live and let live as it were.


  11. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:15 am:

    Woops, Rich, you’re quicker on the draw.


  12. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    Polls are not votes.


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    Yet Bruce Rauner was too afraid to support it during the election. What a coward.


  14. - walker - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    General culture shift driving legislators. Not money in this case.


  15. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    Things change. In this instance things have changed for the better.


  16. - A guy - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    At least changed for the kinder, Demo.


  17. - Anonymiss - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    And then, there’s this:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/congressman-links-baltimore-crisis-to-same-sex-marriage-117495.html


  18. - Federalist - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    These polls may be true- or not.

    Only a real vote at an election poll will provide sufficient information.


  19. - nona - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:26 pm:

    Are there any right-wingers who admit they have changed their minds? Or do they just do so and pretend they always felt that way? As far as evangelicals, how do they explain their new-found tolerance in light of the scripture condemning homosexuality that prominent preachers used to cite so often?


  20. - nona - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 8:32 pm:

    Do any of those who changed their minds apologize for having been wrong for so long, and for having made such hurtful comments about “abomination”? Foolish question.


  21. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:49 pm:

    First, ask President Obama and Hillary Clinton why they were adamantly opposed to it, right up to 2012.

    Then talk to the right wingers.

    Geez.


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