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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)

2011-OCT to 2012-JAN: Results of recent
public opinion polls in New Jersey

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Polls for 2009 to 2011-AUG are shown in a previous essay.

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Numerous national polls and polls within a specific state have been sponsored on same-sex marriage (SSM) by secular, political and religious groups. Unfortunately, they do not necessarily give an accurate picture of support for SSM. There are many ways to distort polling results that are sometimes employed by groups who are more motivated to justify their beliefs than to accurately sample public opinion. Even if no distortion is intentionally taking place, the results will vary simply because of the precise question asked.

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2011-OCT-09: Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows majority of adults favor SSM:

A poll of 903 adults among both landline and mobile phone users showed that:

  • 52% favor the legalization of same-sex marriages.
  • 39% oppose SSM
  • 9% are unsure or didn't answer.

However, when the question was rephrased to use the term "marriage equality" in place of "same-sex marriage" results were:

  • 61% favor the legalization of same-sex marriages.
  • 27% oppose SSM
  • 3% are unsure or didn't answer.

The margin of error is ±4.7 percentage points for the above data.

Among adults aged 18 to 29:

  • 77% favor the legalization of same-sex marriages.
  • 13% oppose SSM
  • 10% support civil unions but not same-sex marriage, are unsure, or didn't answer.

Among adults aged 65 years and older:

  • 35% favor the legalization of same-sex marriages.
  • 47% oppose SSM
  • 19% support civil unions but not same-sex marriage, are unsure, or didn't answer. 1

We can probably expect future polls to use the term "marriage equality."

Poll Director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, said:

"Support for legalizing same-sex relations in New Jersey continues to be solid. Young people are overwhelmingly in favor, though a majority of all age groups is supportive, except for those 65 and over. Whatever it is called, support for state recognition of same-sex marriage remains strong and most likely will grow over time."

He also said:

"I suspect a lot of young people are really responding 'why is this even an issue?' The millennial generation has clearly moved on to other issues while [the older] generation continues to hold traditional views on same-sex marriage."

PolitickerNJ writes:

"Support is particularly strong among younger age groups, women and those with a gay or lesbian family member, friend, or acquaintance. Catholics are stronger supporters than Protestants and also more likely to increase support when the issue is phrased as marriage equality.

Democrats and independents both show majority support for gay marriage and even greater support for marriage equality, but the large majority of Republicans oppose legalization regardless of how the issue is phrased." 2

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2012-JAN-19: Quinnipiac poll:

As for the U.S. generally, support for SSM among New Jersey voters continues to rise. For the first time in their polls, a majority of voters favor SSM:

  • 52% favor legalizing SSM,
  • 42% oppose SSM,
  • 6% don't now or didn't respond.
  • This is a full ten percentage point margin in favor of same-sex marriage. This compares to a six percentage point margin in 2009-APR.

By political party:

  • 62% of Democrats approve; 33% oppose; 5% don't now or didn't respond,
  • 54% of Independents approve; 38% oppose; 8% don't now or didn't respond,
  • 35% of Republicans approve; 59% oppose; 6% don't now or didn't respond.

By race:

  • 55% of white voters support SSM; 39% oppose.
  • 45% of black voters support SSM; 51% oppose.

By gender:

  • 55% of women support SSM; 40% oppose.
  • 49% of men support SSM; 44% oppose.

By religious affilliation:

  • 50% of white Catholics approve; 45% oppose. This is an unusual result because polls in other states indicate that the Catholic laity gives greater support for SSM than the average voter.
  • 44% of white Protestants approve; 51% oppose.

Frequency of attendance at relgious services had a strong effect on support for SSM:

  • 36% of voters who attend weekly support SSM; 58% oppose.
  • 61% of voters who attend services less often or not at all support SSM; 33% oppose.

On related topics, most voters:

  • believe that SSM is not a threat to traditional marriage (65 to 32%).

  • believe that denying SSM is discrimination (53 to 45%).
    • 32% of Republicans agreed it is discrimination; 66% disagreed.
    • 66% of Democrats agreed it is discrimination; 31% disagrred -- almost a perfect mirror image.

  • support allowing same-sex couples to adopt children (66 to 29%). 3

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Polls from 2012-FEB to now are shown in a subsequent essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "What's in a name?," Star Ledger image, at:
  2. "Rutgers-Eagleton: 52% of NJ voters support same-sex marriage," PolitickerNJ, 2011-OCT-28, at:
  3. "January 19, 2012 - New Jersey Support For Same-Sex Marriage At New High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds ...," Quinnipiac University, 2012-JAN-19, at:

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > New Jersey > here

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Copyright © 2011 & 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Parts originally written: 2011-OCT-12
Latest update: 2012-MAR-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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