Support for Same-Sex Marriage Up Among Older Voters

New poll also finds some 58 percent of Californians support the right for same-sex couples to marry

By Jason Kandel
|  Monday, Jun 10, 2013  |  Updated 7:31 PM PDT
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A 2013 USC Dornslife/LA Times Poll found support for legalizing same-sex marriage growing among elderly voters.

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Seniors are shifting toward support of same-sex marriage, according to the latest USC/Los Angeles Times Poll.

Californians over the age of 65 are now evenly split on the matter, with 47 percent opposed and 46 percent for legalization — an 11 point jump in favor of same-sex marriage from the March 2010 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, which found 53 percent opposed and 35 percent of seniors in favor.

They are among a majority of California voters who believe same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry in the state, the poll found.

Some 58 percent percent of Californians support the right for same-sex couples to marry, with 49 percent “strongly” in favor and 9 percent “not so strongly” in favor.

Only 36 percent of state voters oppose same-sex marriage, with 30 percent “strongly” opposed and 6 percent “not so strongly” opposed.

Overall, support has climbed since 2010 when a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found found 52 percent of Californians in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and 40 percent opposed.

Voters age 18 to 29 show the highest levels of support for the issue, with 76-21 percent in favor, the poll showed.

“There’s been an assumption for four years that support for same-sex marriage is driven by demographics, and there’s no question that we see much stronger support among younger voters than older voters,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

“But that level of support among older voters is extremely important. What the shift among older voters shows is that this isn’t just a generational change, but that a whole cohort of voters is actually changing their position on the issue,” Schnur said.

The poll results are based on a random sample survey of 1,500 registered voters in the state of California, conducted from May 27 to June 2.

The poll results come as the Supreme Court delayed a vote on Monday on cases related to same-sex marriage.

The high court was expected to make additional rulings until Thursday.

See the full poll results here.

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