Fox News Poll

Fox News poll: Americans deeply divided over approval of same-sex marriage

American voters are split down the middle over whether same-sex marriage should be legalized, with the exact same percentage -- 46 percent -- in favor as opposed to it, according to the latest Fox News poll.

There are major differences based on age, political identification, region and religiosity. Voters under the age of 45, for example, are largely in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage (60 percent), while those ages 45 and older largely oppose it (57 percent).  

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Most Democrats (64 percent) are in favor, while most Republicans are opposed (66 percent). Independents are more likely to favor same-sex marriage, 50 percent to 39 percent.

On the other hand, voters who regularly attend church services oppose gay marriage (65 percent), while over half of those who attend less frequently are in favor (53 percent).  

At the end of March, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider two cases concerning same-sex marriage, including one over California’s gay marriage ban.  

In recent months, President Obama has made it clear that he personally believes same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and last week the administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court in the California case supporting gay marriage. That puts the administration at odds with the 37 states that have banned same-sex marriage.

The new poll, released Monday, also shows regional differences on the issue. Northeasterners favor gay marriage by a wide 34 percentage-point margin (63-29 percent), while Southerners oppose it by 21 points (57-36 percent). Westerners narrowly favor it (49-42 percent), and Midwesterners narrowly oppose it (48-45 percent).

Meanwhile, a majority of those living in urban areas are in favor of same-sex marriage (52 percent), and a majority of those in rural areas oppose it (55 percent).  

Overall, those most likely to favor legalizing gay marriage include those who “never” attend church (79 percent), liberals (72 percent) and voters under age 30 (68 percent).  

On the other side, those most opposed include “very” conservatives (79 percent), Tea Partiers (76 percent) and white evangelical Christians (71 percent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,010 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 25 to February 27.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.