Democrats Join With Obama as More Favor Gay Marriage, Pew Finds

Support for gay marriage has jumped among Democrats in the last four years, according to a Pew Research Center poll taken before the party moved to include the issue in its convention platform.

The June 28-July 9 survey found that 65 percent of Democrats favor gay marriage, while 29 percent oppose such unions. In 2008, 50 percent of Democrats backed gay marriage and 42 percent opposed it, Pew said on its website.

President Barack Obama is the most prominent Democrat to have changed his stance in the last four years. In May, the president said he believed that same-sex couples should be able to get married; while running for president in 2008, he said only that he supported civil unions.

The Pew center also found that independent support for gay marriage has grown, with 51 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed. Four years ago, independent voters were divided evenly on the issue, Pew said.

While Republicans continue to oppose gay marriage 70 percent to 24 percent, the public as a whole has shifted in favor as well, Pew said. In the latest poll, 48 percent of all respondents backed gay marriage and 44 percent opposed it; in 2008, 51 percent opposed it and 39 percent favored such unions.

The Democratic Party yesterday took an initial step toward endorsing gay marriage when party platform drafters recommended including the provision. The platform committee will meet next month to adopt a proposed statement of the party’s stands.

The Pew poll included 2,973 adults and has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.

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