The Pew Forum reports:
Reports that the Democratic Party may add support for gay marriage to its party platform are in keeping with a significant shift of opinion on this issue among Democrats nationwide. Just four years ago, in 2008, only half (50%) of Democrats favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 42% were opposed. Support for gay marriage among Democrats has jumped to 65% today, more than double the percentage that is opposed (29%).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 28-July 9, 2012, among 2,973 adults, finds that the partisan divide over gay marriage continues to widen. Just 24% of Republicans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, which is only slightly higher than the percentage of Republicans who supported gay marriage in 2008 (19%). Independent support for gay marriage has grown substantially since 2008. More independents today favor (51%) than oppose (40%) gay marriage; four years ago independents were divided evenly (44% favor, 45% oppose).
Ross Douthat wonders aloud whether we’re headed to long-term polarization rather than the all-out victory many expect, either with hope or fear:
It’s possible that there are inherent limits to the process of marginalizing dissent even on an issue where elites are increasingly united and the underlying trend is clear, because the overall incentive to conform is matched by the partisan incentive to dissent. (Here it’s worth contrasting the way opinion on gay marriage shifted in the first two years of the Obama era among Democrats and independents with the way it mostly didn’t shift among Republicans and conservatives.) This reality might complicate the advantages of legal pressure as a tool of social change. It’s at least possible that the anti-Chick-Fil-A mayors are hastening the consolidation of support for gay marriage in certain important climates (big cities, the business world, etc.), but also hardening resistance to same-sex marriage among the many Americans conditioned by polarization to disagree with anything that Rahm Emanuel does no matter what.
It is strange to live in a day when opposing the murder of the unborn and believing marriage can only exist between a woman and a man qualifies one as a conservative. The bar for entering the reactionary club gets progressively lower.