Washington Post poll: Filibuster-proof supermajority of Americans support marriage equality

Yesterday, the Washington Post released a poll conducted with ABC News showing a record high 61 percent of Americans support marriage equality, with 35 percent opposed. The poll also showed a nearly identical level of support for requiring states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, and nearly identical opposition to allowing individual states to ban same-sex marriage.

In other words, if the American people were the Senate, full marriage equality could break a Republican (because of course it would be a Republican) filibuster.

This is the first time support for marriage equality has polled above 60 percent, and comes right before the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments concerning the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage next Tuesday.

The Post also noted in their release that the high level is support is not simply due to changing demographics. While younger Americans overwhelmingly support marriage equality, the rise in overall support comes from both a shift in generational makeup and greater support from older Americans than in previous polls.

At the risk of sounding arbitrary, I think an increase in support from 59 to 60 percent is more significant than an increase from 58 to 59 percent. Yes, marriage equality has had majority support in the American public for a few years now, but now it has a supermajority. That changes how we can talk about it — for example, two days ago I couldn’t quite use the word “supermajority” to describe public support for marriage equality. Now I can and I will. Frequently.

Once support for a given policy crosses the 60 percent mark, it’s not only difficult but downright silly to argue that the issue is “controversial” as if to imply that the public is even close to evenly divided over the issue. The minority may be loud, and they may be hateful. But it the public can’t be said to take them seriously.

That’s almost as big a deal as the Supreme Court not taking them seriously next week.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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