A slight majority, 52 percent, of Americans would support a national referendum making gay marriage legal in all 50 states, according to a poll released Monday by Gallup. Forty-three percent say they would vote against the referendum.
The U.S. Constitution does not provide referendums as a policy-making tool (some states have them), so the question is hypothetical.
The demographic groups who were most supportive of a national policy redefining marriage to include couples of the same gender were liberals (77 percent), those with no religious affiliation (76 percent), Democrats (70 percent), young adults aged 18 to 34 (69 percent), those who rarely or never attend church (67 percent), Catholics (60 percent) and those who live in the East (62 percent) and West (57 percent).
The demographic groups that had a majority opposing the referendum were those who attend church weekly (73 percent), conservatives (67 percent), Republicans (66 percent), Protestants (58 percent), those aged 55 and older (58 percent), and Southerners (51 percent).
Women were more supportive (56 percent) than men (48 percent), and whites were slightly more supportive (54 percent) than nonwhites (51 percent).
By the end of this week, gay marriage will be legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Supreme Court declined this Summer an opportunity to rule that the U.S. Constitution requires all states to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, though it did require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states that allow it.
The poll "adds to the body of evidence in Gallup trends that public opinion on gay marriage has reached a tipping point, whereby the majority now clearly supports it," Gallup wrote. "Nevertheless, the issue remains highly divisive, as large majorities of left-leaning, nonreligious, and younger Americans endorse it, while right-leaning, religious, and older Americans still oppose it."
The July 10-14 poll of 2,027 adults has a plus or minus three percentage point margin of error for the full sample.