Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Political Science professors note marriage equality “groundswell”


(Cross-posted at LGBTPOV)

By Karen Ocamb

NYT interactive map on marriage

In an op-ed in the New York Times Sunday, Columbia University political science professors Andrew Gelman, Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips wrote that while “gay marriage is not going away as a highly emotion, contested issue….perhaps the public has reached a turning point.” The professors cite a recent CNN poll that “found that a narrow majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage – the first poll to find majority support.” But, they write, “this trend will continue” because nationally, “a majority of people under age 30 support same-sex marriage.”

The Times created an interactive map to go with the article – which shows the “groundswell” from 2004 to 2010. They also have a graphic that shows the trend state-by-state. (Hat tip to Pam Spaulding.)


  • 1. Ann S.  |  August 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Sub me, baby.

  • 2. Ķĭŗîļĺę&  |  August 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Sub me, too.

  • 3. Alan E.  |  August 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    It sure as heck isn't going away, and it only has one way to go in my mind! Towards equality!

  • 4. Ronnie  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am

    I concur….<3…Ronnie

  • 5. JonT  |  August 27, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I need 'da bytes.

  • 6. Trish  |  August 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I read the article and frankly I'm still confused how they assume 50% support same-sex marriage. Can someone help me understand from what that assumption derives?

  • 7. Trish  |  August 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Oh — and subscribing.

  • 8. Kathleen  |  August 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I think it comes from the CNN poll cited in the article:

  • 9. Jeffrey Lax  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Hi — We also think the 50% poll is an outlier which is why we also provided state projections for what we think is a more reasonable national estimate of 45% (which is based on the average trend — see Nate Silver's discussion of this on 538). We provide two sets of projections so that you can work from either national poll estimate to see what it would mean state by state. — Jeff

  • 10. Sagesse  |  August 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Welcome, Jeffrey Lax, and thanks for stopping by to explain.

    As an educated layman, I find it a challenge to dig through to what is not said. If the media does address what the questions were, they won't tell you what the questions were for the poll they are comparing to. And good luck trying to find out if either polling organization is working (spinning?) for some right wing think tank. (Do the left wing think tanks use slanted polling too? Never thought to check :))

  • 11. Jeffrey Lax  |  August 28, 2010 at 1:13 am

    We average over a large number of polls and polling firms, depending on what is available for a particular time period. The CNN question wording was a bit different but the main analysis does not rest on that poll. All polls uses were from trusted mainstream polling firms.

  • 12. AndrewPDX  |  August 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Sigh.. I can't wait for the day when the scale doesn't cap at 66%

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 13. Owen  |  August 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Assuming 50% support…

    Well, too bad national support is nowhere near 50% yet. :

  • 14. Kathleen  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    They're assuming 50% support for the individual state projections. They seem to be using 50% as a general approximation of the results from the CNN and other polls cited in the article.

    A CNN poll this month found that a narrow majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage — the first poll to find majority support. Other poll results did not go that far, but still, on average, showed that support for gay marriage had risen to 45 percent or more (with the rest either opposed or undecided).

  • 15. Owen  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I just aggregated PPP, FOX/Ramussen, CBS, Gallup, CNN, and WaPo/ABC all from this year and got 42.2% support.

    Sorry, I'm stubborn as hell on this because I feel like a lot of polls have high-balled support only to mislead the gay rights movement into futilely attempting things that just weren't in the cards.

    But a lot of what they're using are estimates that are demonstrably erroneous. A lot of statisticians have rightly estimated that public opinion will move about 1 percent per year in favor of gay marriage in most states.

    Nevada passed their anti-marriage amendment in 2002 with 67 percent of the vote, yet this model (and the 45% model) shows them above 50% support! The 1% rule dictates that they'd go 59-41 if there's a ballot measure. Given the properties of voter turnout, you're probably talking about 45% actual support, but 41% with voters in that state.

    And then California. They're showing California near >60% support? That's crazy! Field Poll just put them at 51-42, where they were two years ago when Prop. 8 passed.

  • 16. Kathleen  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Write to the authors.

  • 17. Owen  |  August 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Heh, you're right. Here I am bitching about inaccurate numbers without even doing anything. *facepalm*

  • 18. Kathleen  |  August 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I'll be interested in knowing how they respond. If you get an answer, please share. I haven't looked into the numbers. But you're right that there seems to be a significant discrepancy.

  • 19. Sagesse  |  August 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    @Owen and Kathleen. Here are a couple of recent articles that address the polling/trending question.

    Aug 12

    Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage Appears to Shift at Accelerated Pace

  • 20. Sagesse  |  August 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    @Owen and Kathleen

    And the second article

    Aug 13

    Automated Poll Produces Starkly Different Results on Gay Marriage Question

  • 21. stats girl  |  August 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Hi all, I've been reading everyone's comments on this site for a while, but haven't commented previously.

    I just wanted to say something quick re: the question about poll statistics: although the article refers to the Columbia professors as political scientists, it might be useful for you to know that Andrew Gelman is also a very well respected member of the statistical community. (If you talk to any statistician, particularly one who leans towards the Bayesian framework, they will know Andrew Gelman by name and probably own his textbook on Bayesian Data Analysis)

    If you have doubts about the polling results I would encourage you to contact him and ask him about the figures given in the article. However, from my perspective as a stats grad student, I'm pretty willing to bet that Gelman would not have allowed a flaw in the statistical computing to occur.

  • 22. Jeffrey Lax  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    We also provided a projection based on 45%. Best, Jeff

  • 23. Tasty Salamanders  |  August 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Since I international news doesn't seem to be posted here unless there is a big leap I just thought I'd mention that here in Australia we just had an election. One of the parties that supports same-sex marriage got the balance of power in this election and a variety of members from the main two parties have came out in support of SSM in recent weeks, so hopefully we'll see some progress here soon too 😀

  • 24. Alan E.  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    That's great! Do you have any links to share?

  • 25. Kathleen  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    This is great news! Yes, news stories, please. Would love to read more.

  • 26. Tasty Salamanders  |  August 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm…. (This one is more about the level of power they got at this election.)

    Hope this is enough links 🙂

  • 27. Tasty Salamanders  |  August 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to my previous post, oh well.

  • 28. Keith  |  August 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Public support doesn't always translate to change. Here in the UK, polls show 60+% of the public in favor of marriage equality, yet it isn't happening.

  • 29. Michael  |  August 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    I'm not sure about the overall poll numbers either, but the good news to take away is that the number of pro-equality Americans continues to grow. And will continue to grow. Shrill anti-gay pressure group NOM better buckle their seat belt–it's going to be a bumpy ride.

  • 30. Sagesse  |  August 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Ooops. Posted this on the wrong thread.

    FiveThirtyEight also has a great graphic by state

    Opinions on Gay Rights Vary a Lot by State

  • 31. BK  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Gaaaah. I really want to move back to Utah now. (Just moved less than four months ago; not being sarcastic.) Maybe more gay people living in the state would help at least a little, sheesh. I only came out to one friend before leaving… and I still haven't come out to my family or half of my friends. People need to know gays… Familiarity reduces fear.

  • 32. Anonygrl  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Statistically there is probably the same percentage of gay people in Utah as California, BK, but having more people who are OUT would certainly help, I think.

  • 33. Carpool Cookie  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:36 am

    BK – Not to undermine any efforts, but you also have your own life to lead and must go where you'll be happy. You can keep in touch with friends and family and visit. They will still know a gay person, through you.

  • 34. Francis Nmeribe  |  August 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    No matter how many people support same-sex marriage, it would remain insanity. That many Arab countries harbor or sponsor terrorism has not made terrorism an acceptable standard.

  • 35. Franck  |  August 26, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Oh hey, a fellow African. Sadly, the homophobic, macho, hypocritical kind.

    Homophobia being endorsed by many Arab and African states doesn't make it an acceptable standard.

    Superiority of men over women being endorsed by many Arab and African states doesn't make it an acceptable standard.

    Sorry if I sound a bit bitter here. As an African-born man, I have always found that most of Africa was utterly stupid in thinking that they were somehow morally superior to them "decadent westerners" when the staple of African news is "tribe X massacred tribe Y to avenge the massacre of tribe Z for religious/xenophobic/financial/political reasons".

    I'll always find most Africans to be utterly stupid in that the only solution they find to forget the hate and violence that scour the continent, is to find someone else to hate.

    Again, sorry if I seem bitter, but there's one solid reason why Africa is getting slowly killed by AIDS. Get your heads out of your asses, people. And get your penises in check once in a while, by the way. Rampant philandering is the cause of Africa's AIDS epidemic, not homosexuality.

    You people have made my life hell with your xenophobia, your hypocritical self-righteousness and your general self-destructing tendencies. You wonder why I consider myself African In Name Only?

    Bitter rant, over.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1162 days, as of today.

  • 36. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Which country do you live in, Franck?

  • 37. fiona64  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Dear Franck:

    Totally lame comment happening in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    I did my physical anthropology study on lemurs, and was bummed that I had to do it at a zoo since I can't afford to go to Madagascar. You live in a beautiful and amazing place.

    I'm sorry to hear about the human culture, nevertheless. I guess it just goes to show that people are people all over the place, with their hatreds and fears.


  • 38. Carpool Cookie  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:41 am

    My mother almost married a plantation owner from Nigeria in college. He went on to marry a girl who looked exactly like her. A few years later, everyone on the plantation was tied to the rubber trees and decapitated with machettes during an uprising. She was glad to be in Boston.

  • 39. Franck  |  August 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Kate, I live in Madagascar. Maybe one of the very few countries that managed to avoid the rampant homophobia, but that doesn’t mean the locals are less annoyingly self-righteous as most other Africans, or less violent/xenophobic.

    We had a coup here last year, with hundreds dead (and the situation still hasn’t calmed down on the political side). At almost 26 I’m actually old enough to remember state-sponsored anti-Asian pogroms that lasted until the early 90s (I’m part Asian), and my parents are old enough to remember huge race riots in the 70s.

    There’s also growing up being called a monster because I had French blood, and France’s colonization of Madagascar had been painful. Go figure why a guy born in 1984 could be blamed for something that officially ended in 1960. Still, I keep being called a Frenchie, with pejorative connotations, in the very neighborhood I live in, because of the skin color I inherited from a long estranged grandfather… That’s Africa for you.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1162 days, as of today.

  • 40. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 9:11 am


    Fiona, the lemur population in Madagascar is precisely one my huge draws to go there!

  • 41. Mark M  |  August 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    You are comparing marriage equality to terrorism?
    Insanity? It's insanity to give a large group of people their constitutional / human rights?
    Please explain!

  • 42. Anonygrl  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Insanity? On what, exactly, do you base this judgement?

    And what does marriage equality have to do with terrorism?

  • 43. Ozymandias71  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:26 am

    Ah, comparing Marriage Equality to terrorism, are you? Obviously you've read Sally Kern's political playbook. /eyeroll

  • 44. fiona64  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Obvious troll is obvious …


  • 45. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Franck: I've wanted to visit Madagascar for years. A friend of mine managed to do so during one of the windows of somewhat-calm, and I envy him. We're going to Tanzania in November (yeah……. tourists; sorry), and I still find myself imagining fitting in a "side" trip to Madagascar. Not exactly likely, I'm afraid.

    I'm so sorry to hear that you have had to endure all that rejection on so many fronts.

  • 46. Sheryl Carver  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:08 am

    You need to update your knowledge about sexual orientation, Francis. Beliefs & actions based on ignorance rarely turn out well, for others OR the believer.

  • 47. Owen  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:52 am

    lmao, yes, because Iran and Somalia (countries fostering terrorism) are comparable to say…Canada or Spain.

    Ah, the wonderful world of Dominionist logic.

  • 48. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:53 am

    It is such a shame to see someone comparing LOVE, which is healing and a means of human growth in all areas, to terrorism, which is destructive. There is only one thing in my life that in any way compares to terrorism, and that is the hatred that is encouraged by people like you who refuse to see me for who and what I am simply because you are so obsessed with only one aspect of my sexual orientation. I really have a lot of pity for you, and am so glad that my life is so much richer, more beautiful, and more fulfilling than yours will ever be until you come out of whatever closet you are in, and remove your cranial compartment from your high colonic interior.

  • 49. Owen  |  August 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

    It's the usual "I know you are, but what am I" argument.

    The sad thing is, the Dominionists are closer to the real terrorists right now. The parallels between their way of life and fascism are really striking.

    Just read Umberto Eco's 14 characteristics of fascism and compare it to the type of things Pat Robertson and James Dobson want in our society.

    They have to distract from the really dark characteristics of their movement, so they go to the other extreme and call US the terrorists, when in fact they are the ones attempting to defile the constitutions and institutionalize a totalitarian, regressive way of life.

  • 50. fiona64  |  August 27, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Here's a link to the 14 characteristics of fascism referred to:….

    (See also: Bush II administration.)


  • 51. Sagesse  |  August 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    EQCA action plan for the November elections in CA

    The Road Ahead

  • 52. Sagesse  |  August 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Further reaction to Ken Mehlman on MSNBC

    Mehlman Personal for Thomas Roberts

  • 53. Sagesse  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Great interview with Dustin Lance Black. Long discussion on helping gay youth.

    Oscar Winner Dustin Lance Black on Mormonism, Prop 8, Sarah Palin and the Challenges of Being Gay

  • 54. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Thanks for posting that link. What a great interview. He is a very talented and intelligent young man. And, I was not aware of the Trevor Project, just one more place for a donation when I become employed again.

    And, because I feel like all of you are family, I'm going to ask each of you to keep me in your thoughts on Sept. 9 when I have an interview for a job I really want.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 55. fiona64  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Oh, hooray! ::raining down good job karma on you::


  • 56. Ozymandias71  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Good 'job-getting' karma heading your way Sheryl! 🙂

  • 57. Anonygrl  |  August 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Fingers crossed here on the east coast for you! In fact, you can tell them that people all over the country, all over the world really, want you to get this job!!

  • 58. James Sweet  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Completely OT, but if you guys haven't seen this comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, you have to take a look.

  • 59. Sagesse  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:37 am

    National attention for the campaign against three Iowa Supreme Court judges up for raffirmation. Although the article doesn't say, aren't NOM playing a part in this and other Iowa votes in November?

    Iowa foes of same-sex marriage seek to oust judges who legalized it

  • 60. Anonygrl  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Interesting to note the funding behind the campaign to oust those judges is AFA, American Family Association.

    They are a scary group.

  • 61. Ed  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:40 am


  • 62. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I want to carry this information across to the most-current thread so that Michael's post doesn't just get lost in all the replies.

    Michael | August 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm
    You’d probably be able to reach him through an address at this website:

  • 63. Anonygrl  |  August 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Is Dave going to send his incredible letter there?

  • 64. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:11 am

    I'm definitely hoping so.

  • 65. Kate  |  August 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

    OMG — this directly from Mehlman's own web site:

    Ken Mehlman is a trustee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 66. icapricorn  |  August 27, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Here's the sad fact: Iowa has gay marriage but New York and New Jersey do not. This is due, I believe, to the largely Catholic voter base that state politicians have to win for election. New Jersey guy here.

  • 67. Ronnie  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:26 am

    NJ guy here too….its astoundingly deplorable how much the Hasidic Jewish sect is against Equality here in NJ as well….. : ( …Ronnie

  • 68. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 27, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Maybe the NJ Hasids, but I know a Lubavitcher Hasidic rabbi who is very adamantly in favor of marriage equality. Thank you for being so specific, Ronnie.

  • 69. Owen  |  August 27, 2010 at 5:54 am

    well every time I post something here about the key races in the New York Senate (Diaz vs. Ramos, Huntley vs. Nunes, Satchowski vs. Kennedy), it goes ignored.


  • 70. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 27, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Well, marriage equality is coming–regardless of what NOM, AFA, FRC, FotF, and the other bigots think. And to quote Miss Martha: "That's a good thing!"

  • 71. Owen  |  August 27, 2010 at 6:09 am

    ^interesting read that I found while looking up polls

    You can see how superior the arguments in favor of Judge Walker's ruling are. The opinions that disagree are incredibly shallow.

  • 72. fiona64  |  August 27, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Petaluma is not exactly a hotbed of liberality. No surprises to this NorCal gal. 🙂


  • 73. Amy  |  August 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

    So… if California had an election and overturned Prop 8, now that there is greater than 50% support, would the Prop 8 trial get thrown out, or would appeals continue?

  • 74. Alan E.  |  August 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    It would be tossed out as a moot point.

  • 75. Ann S.  |  August 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    If Prop 8 were removed from the CA Constitution by a new ballot proposition, that would probably moot the case (make it irrelevant), since the plaintiffs would be able to get married and there would no longer be a case or controversy.

  • 76. Keith  |  August 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Too bad our own democratic president doesn't support us. When Dick Cheney supports SSM and Obama doesn't, there is something seriously wrong with who we elected as president.

  • 77. JonT  |  August 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Well at least he doesn't actively fight against us. Do you really think we would have been better off with McCain and Palin?

    He's (Obama) not really an advocate, but I do not believe he is an enemy.

  • 78. Keith  |  August 30, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Just because you don't think he's an enemy is a reason to vote for us? He is on the wrong side of history on the SSM issue. I don't see how he, a mixed race person, can harbor the feelings he has for gay people. Equal rights are equal rights. Separate is not equal. And honestly, I don't think McCain would be any better or any worse as president on this issue. They both would have done nothing to further gay rights. Obama, as a democratic president, is years behind other democratic hopefuls on this issue. He will not get my vote again and I'm very hopeful that he gets unseated in a primary. We need a better democratic president…not a DINO. If he truly believed in equality he would have at least issued an executive order preventing future discharges. He won't even do that.

  • 79. Keith  |  August 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Why isn't there another initiative on November's ballot to repeal Prop 8? What would it hurt if we lost again? The way I see it, if it's unsuccessful, we're no better off than we are right now, but if it succeeds we finally get equality. I say there should be an initiative for SSM on every ballot until it passes.

  • 80. Kathleen  |  August 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    There was an attempt to get an initiative on the ballot, but the organizers didn't get enough signatures.

  • 81. Keith  |  August 29, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    They obviously didn't try very hard. Equality California sent out a survey to its members wanting to know if they should pursue another initiative in 2010 of which I responded a strong yes. However, they decided to wait until 2012 and as such they lost me as a member, just like the HRC. Their sole purpose is to fight for our equality and for me, they don't have the right to sit out of any election. They want to take our money and then sit on the sidelines and attend Obama's dinner parties where he gives them lip service and nothing more. We need action and if they won't fight for it I don't need to support them.

  • 82. Ann S.  |  August 30, 2010 at 7:53 am

    There was a strong and honest division of opinion among marriage equality backers over whether to go for 2010 or 2012.

    An initiative campaign does not come without a price, and there are prices that aren't just monetary. I was told that a number of same-sex parents of school-age children said that they did not want to put their kids through another campaign season so soon.

    The hard feelings of the campaign affected the kids in the schools.

    There will be better turn-out in 2012, it being another presidential election year, and demographics and public opinion shifts are both working in our favor.

  • 83. Robert  |  August 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

    LOL… Blessed little Utah. The island of intolerance in an increasingly accepting sea…

    The most assuredly will not reach 50% support for another 2 to 300 years..

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!