By the end of 2012, 12 states and the District of Columbia had support forNot every state has polling data, so the report's authors used regression analysis to extrapolate the numbers for all 50 states. In addition to the bullet points above, some things that stood out to me looking at the map:
same-sex marriage at or above 50%.
> Of these 12 states, all currently perform marriages, civil unions, or domestic
partnerships for same-sex couples.
> 13 additional states presently are within 5 percentage points of majority
> In the last eight years, every state has increased in its support for marriage
for same-sex couples with an average increase of 13.6%.
> If present public opinion trends continue, another 8 states will be above 50%
support by the end of 2014.
- Unsurprisingly, the South is the last major fortress of bigotry. Outside the South, just two states feature less-than-40 percent support for equality: Mormon Utah and Nebraska. Even Wyoming and Idaho have crossed the 40 percent threshold.
- Arkansas and Louisiana are bringing up the rear, followed closely by West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. Massachusetts and Connecticut are leading the vanguard, fast approaching 60 percent, with DC's 62 percent the tip of the spear.
- Even Arkansas and Louisiana deliver good news: Per the report, support for equality in Arkansas was 18 percent in 2004, making for a 13-point gain in just eight years. Louisiana went from 21 to 31 percent in that time frame. Even if gains slowed to one point per year, everyone will be at majority support within a generation.
- The smallest gains over that eight-year period came in Rhode Island (+8), California (+9) and Texas (+9). The biggest were in South Dakota (+21), Connecticut (+18), and a bunch of states at +17: Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, and North Dakota. Mississippi was up 16, from 18 to 34 percent, and West Virginia went from 21 to 32 percent, just to get a sense how quickly even the laggards are moving in our direction.
- Colorado is home to half the American Taliban, yet look at that beautiful 50 percent! Colorado Springs is looking pretty isolated.
- How long before Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski decides she's "evolved"? Alaska will be at 50 percent before long.
- The only two southern states to bust out of the 30s are Florida, which is really two states (South Georgia and North Cuba), and Virginia, which is also two states (Metro DC and the stuff around Liberty University).
- Ohio is in the laggard half of the nation on the issue, which makes Sen. Sherrod Brown's strong support for equality all the more courageous. Same for North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
- There isn't a single Republican in the Senate from any of the 50+ percent states. There are six Senate Democrats in the under-40 states (AR, LA, MO, NC, WVx2), which is why some Dems are still legitimately afraid to do the right thing.
These numbers are amazing in showing how quickly America has "evolved" on the issue, even in the states that appear backwater and hopeless. America is clearly moving forward, no matter how much the bigots kick and scream and drag their heels.
And that makes me smile.
Update: The data for this study is from 2012, so newer polls wouldn't be reflected. And the analysis is based on multiple polls, so this one poll or that one might show higher support of course. So these numbers might be off (it is statistics, after all), or they might be dated, or they might be both. Bottom line, the country is changing, it's changing quickly, and it's changing even in places where they resist change.