By the numbers

America's 'unprecedented' support for gay marriage: By the numbers

A new Gallup poll finds that a clear majority of Americans want to legalize same-sex marriage. A numerical guide to the shifting public opinion

For the first time since Gallup started tracking the issue, in 1996, a majority of Americans believe that gay marriage should be legal. Here, a by-the-numbers guide to Gallup's "unprecedented" findings, and the shifting tide of opinion on the issue:

53
Percentage of Americans who believe "same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages," according to Gallup. "This clearly looks like the beginning of the end of the same-sex marriage debate," says Robert P. Jones at The Huffington Post.

44
Percentage of Americans who supported legal same-sex marriage in last year's Gallup poll

45
Percentage of Americans who say same-sex marriage "should not be valid," according to Gallup

68
Percentage of Americans who said same-sex marriage "should not be valid" in a 1996 Gallup poll. "To go from 41 points behind to 8 points ahead in a decade and a half must count as one of the most successful political and social campaigns in history," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast.

69
Percentage of Democrats who now support legalizing same-sex marriage

56
Percentage of Democrats who supported legalizing same-sex marriage in last year's Gallup poll

59
Percentage of independents who now support legalizing same-sex marriage

49
Percentage of independents who supported legalizing same-sex marriage in last year's Gallup poll

28
Percentage of Republicans who now support legalizing same-sex marriage

28
Percentage of Republicans who supported legalizing same-sex marriage in last year's Gallup poll

70
Percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds who support legalizing same-sex marriage, up 16 percentage points from 2010. This "overwhelming" number in favor of marriage equality "makes the trend toward growing acceptance both clear and unstoppable," says Jon Walker at Firedoglake.

5
States that allow legal same-sex marriages: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The District of Columbia also allows them. "At the moment, those advocating changes in constitutions and laws to allow same-sex marriage in additional states can take heart in the apparent shift in national sentiment in their direction," says Gallup's Frank Newport.

Sources: Gallup, Firedoglake, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Hot Air

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