Safety In Numbers

Most Americans Don’t Know Most Americans Favor Marriage Equality

gay_marriage_rings_thSo, yeah, there’s yet another poll out that shows that the majority of Americans support marriage equality. This time it’s the venerable Gallup poll, which for the third time in a year shows that a majority of those asked support same-sex marriage. No surprise there, but there is another one buried in the poll results: what most Americans think most Americans think.

The Gallup results are in line with other recent polls that continue to show that the tide of public opinion has definitely turned on marriage equality. But where the Gallup poll contributes some real insight is how those asked think the rest of the country feels about marriage equality. By a whopping 63%, the respondents think that most Americans oppose marriage equality. In other words, the majority thinks it’s the minority and doesn’t know otherwise.

What accounts for the disconnect? As much as it might dismay pollsters, most Americans don’t spend their days lovingly reviewing public opinion surveys. The real question, though, is how tentative are people in expressing their beliefs if they think most people are against them. Could there be a drag on the momentum for marriage equality if the public think it’s still something only about a third of Americans support? No wonder politicians still seem leery. It may take time for the public to catch up with its own attitudes, but equality would seem a lot more solid if people knew the force of opinion behind it.