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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)

2009 to 2011-AUG: Results of recent
public opinion polls in New Jersey

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Polls for 2003 to 2007 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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2009-APR: Quinnipiac poll:

The poll conducted between APR-14 and 20 found that New Jersey voters were profoundly divided about SSM along gender, racial, political, and religious grounds:

bullet Support same-sex marriage (SSM)
bullet All adults support it 49% to 43% for a margin of error of 6 percentage points in favor of SSM
bullet Democrats support it 64 to 29%
bullet Independents support it 50 to 41%
bullet Republicans oppose it 67 to 26%
bullet Men oppose it 48 to 44%
bullet Women support it 63 to 39%
bullet Blacks oppose it 54 to 38%
bullet Whites support it 50 to 42%
bullet Those attending religious services weekly oppose it 65 to 28%
bullet Those attending less often support it 61 to 30%.
bullet Support the existing system of civil unions:
bullet All adults support it 63 to 30%

bullet Democrats support it 70 to 23%
bullet Republicans support is 51 to 43%
bullet Independent voters support it 66 to 27%
bullet When given the choices between SSM, civil unions, and no recognition of same-sex relationships, results were:
bullet 42% supported SSM
bullet 30% supported civil unions, but not marriage
bullet 20% opposed any legal recognition, other than to treat loving, committed same-sex couples as roommates and their children as illegitimate. 1

Data indicating increasing support for SSM:

Quinnipiac polls indicate an increase in support for SSM by New Jersey voters: 1

Date Support SSM Oppose SSM Don't know/no answer
2006-NOV-08 41% 50% 9%
2006-DEC-07 44 50 5
2009-APR-23 49 43 8
2009-NOV-25 46 49 6

The 2009-NOV poll surveyed 1,615 voters; the margin of error is ±2.4 percentage points. 2

Meta study of polls: 1994 to 2009:

Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips of Columbia University published a paper in the American Political Science Review, a peer reviewed journal. They scanned every poll taken in each of the 50 states over the interval 1994 to 2009. Each state showed a major increase in support for SSM and civil unions. New Jersey was no exception:

Date range Support SSM
1994 to 1996 27
2003 & 2004 40
2008 & 2009 49

The rate of increase of support for SSM is about 1.6 percentage points per year. This agrees closely with the results for other states in the U.S. Extrapolating the last two results forward would predict about 54% support for SSM by mid 2011. This may be sufficient support to defeat a public initiative or plebiscite outlawing SSM.

Lax and Phillips added Andrew Gelman to their team and estimated the support for SSM in 2010-AUG at 55% in New Jersey. 3

Support for civil unions is about 61%.

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2011-JUN-24: The Jersey Journal conducts Internet poll:

The Jersey Journal posted a question on their website: "Should same-sex marriage be legalized?" Results were 70% in favor, 30% opposed. (N = 514; margin of error is ± ). However, this result is not particularly accurate because some visitors to their web site who voted live outside of New Jersey. Also the distribution of age, educational attainment, marital status, urban/suburban/rural residency, race, religious affiliation etc, of those who took part in the poll are not necessarily comparable to the distribution among New Jersey adults. Another defect of Internet polls is that only those who strongly care about the topic are liable to vote; those that have no driving concern for or against SSM would probably not vote.

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2011-AUG-02: Public Policy Polling releases poll results:

Their poll was conducted during mid-July. They found 47% of voters wanted to legalize SSM while 42% are opposed, for a 5 percentage point margin in favor of SSM. Also, 11% refused to answer or didn't know.

However, when given three options for loving, committed same-sex couples, results were:

  • 41% preferred that same-sex couples be allowed to marry.
  • 40% preferred that they only be allowed to enter into civil unions without the option to marry.
  • 17% wanted same-sex couples to be not recognized at all, except as roommates.
  • 2% refused to answer or had no preference.

They surveyed 480 voters. The margin of error is ±4.5 percentage points. 2

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Polls from 2011-OCT to 2012-JAN 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. "More New Jersey Voters Back Same-Sex Marriage, Qunnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Civil Unions 2-1, Gay Adoption Almost 2-1," 2009-APR-23, Quinnipiac University, at:
  2. "Same-Sex Marriage Loses Support In New Jersey, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds..." Quinnipiac University, 2009-NOV-25, at:
  3. "Same-Sex Marriage Loses Support In New Jersey, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds..." Quinnipiac University, 2009-NOV-25, at:

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

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Copyright © 2009 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Parts originally written: 2009-APR-23
Latest update: 2012-JAN-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

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