The latest Quinnipaic poll shows 22% more New Yorkers favor marriage equality than not. This result ties with and is identical to the previous high recorded just a month ago by Sienna College. Both polls showed a 58%-36% spread.
Quinnipaic, 6/1/11, 1257 registered voters
"Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?"
This is but the latest of five polls taken this year that show marriage equality to be the majority position in NY State: 58-36, 54-42, 58-36, 56-37, 57-38. A sixth poll asking whether respondees supported marriage equality, civil unions, or no recognition recorded an astounding 50% in favor of marriage equality, an unprecedented result in any state for any poll with those three options.
The poll also reports that Governor Cuomo, a staunch supporter of marriage equality who has been pushing for the legislature to pass such a bill, has an astronomically high popularity rating (unlike certain Republican Governors such as he-who-must-not-be-named in Wisconsin):
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Andrew Cuomo is handling his job as Governor?
Even Republicans approve by a margin of 59% - 22%.
Another huge supporter and fierce advocate for marriage equality, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is not quite in the heavens approval-wise, merely in the stratosphere:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Kirsten Gillibrand is handling her job as United States Senator?
A mere 31% differential when compared with Cuomo's 43% differential...
Unfortunately, whether a marriage equality bill passes the NY Legislature is not up to them. It is basically up to eight on-the-fence State Senators, three Democrats and five Republicans, of which six are needed to reach a bare 32 vote majority.
(If you live in NY State and want to help by calling your State Senator, you can use this nice tool set up by Senator Gillibrand.)
While New York is the only recently polled state to show such high support for legalizing same-sex marriage, polling done recently in ten other states show more support for marriage equality than not:
|State||2011 Poll Results|
|CA||45-45 (1), 51-40|
|NH||56-35, 62-29, 59-34 (2)|
(2) On whether to repeal NH's marriage equality law
(3) 2010 poll
New Jersey had a poll taken in 2009 showing same-sex marriage favored by a 46-42 margin, and Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut (states which already have marriage equality) having polling from years ago showing majority support. Support in all these states has likely increased over time.
That's 15 states (including DC) with at least plurality support. Other states for which no specific polling has been done but which might show plurality support would, I suspect, include Hawaii, Oregon, Illinois and Colorado.
How do these results, favoring same-sex marriage in only 30% of states, reconcile with nationwide polling which now shows that a majority of Americans support marriage equality?
Simple. These statewide polls are almost always done by sampling registered or likely voters, while the nationwide polls are generally done by polling adults. And, for whatever reason, the likelier you are to vote, the less inclined you are to support marriage equality, probably by something on the order of a five to seven percent swing going from likely voters to adults.
There is a ways to go, but it is remarkable the change that has occurred. Just a decade ago, by a margin of 29% (31%-60%), the US public was quite dead-set against marriage equality. That hasn't quite been reversed, but it's coming, to quote a famous politician, whether you like it or not.
The all-but-required and now-iconic Nate Silver graph: