In the only poll released since the U.S. Supreme Court struck parts of the Defense of Marriage Act and let stand a lower court ruling that found California’s Proposition 8 violated that state’s constitution, 41 percent of Utahns say they support same sex marriage. That is up from 28 percent in a February, 2012 poll conducted by Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections & Democracy.
The single-answer poll, conducted through Google Consumer Surveys, asked, “Which of the following comes closest to your view on same-sex marriage?: 1) Same sex weddings should be legal; 2) Civil unions for gay couples should be legal; 3) No legal recognition for gay couples.” The wording is very similar to the 2012 poll, in that it gives the option for marriage or civil union.
Of the 500 responses, 41.4 percent said they supported gay marriage; 24.2 percent supported civil unions; and 31.2 percent did not support any legal recognition of same-sex couples. An additional 3.2 percent were either undecided or offered up another answer. The poll has an accuracy of +/- 4 percent.
In 2004, when Utahns voted to enact Amendment 3 stating that marriage was only between a man and a woman and that civil unions were disallowed, only 21 percent supported same-sex marriage, 25 percent supported civil unions and 54 percent were against any legal recognition of same-sex couples.
In 2012, however, support for same-sex marriage rose to 28 percent and civil unions 43 percent. Those wanting no recognition of same-sex couples fell to 29 percent. That number grew 2 points, which is within the statistical accuracy of the polls.
The new poll was conducted by Mormon gay activist and blogger David B. Baker using Google Consumer Surveys which, according to polling expert Nate Silver, is second only to Gallup as the most trusted polling platform. The poll ran from late Thursday, Jan. 2 to Saturday, Jan. 4.
Of 18- to 24-year-olds, support for same-sex marriage is at 54.2 percent and no legal recognition at 26.3 percent.
Of those older than 65, support for same-sex marriage shrinks to 22.9 percent, with 43.8 percent wanting no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
In no age group does support for some recognition of same-sex couples fall below those who want no legal recognition.
One-third (33 percent) of men want no legal recognition and 38.2 percent want full marriage equality an 26.2 want civil unions. Over 44 percent of women agree with full marriage equality and 22.2 percent are for civil unions. Just over 30 percent want no legal recognition.
In rural areas of the state, 41.7 percent want no legal recognition of same-sex marriages.