STUDY: TV Turning The Tide In Favor Of Gay Marriage

gay-couple-modern-familyA new survey suggests that portrayals of LGBT characters have positively impacted the opinions of Americans on gay marriage.

According to the poll, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, 18% of television watchers aged 13-64 say that TV in general has changed their opinion of same-sex marriage in a positive way. In comparison, 10% said TV had a negative impact on their views.

Among the more stubborn TV set, 44% of pro-gay marriage viewers were unaffected by television and 28% of anti-gay marriage viewers remain opposed.

“Based on this data, I think we can conclude that TV has, at least in part, moved the needle of public opinion to see same-sex marriage in a positive way,” says Ben Spergel, Senior Vice President and Head of TV Insights at Ipsos MediaCT. “With everything from higher profile portrayals of gay characters, to celebrity support of gay marriage, to last year’s groundbreaking endorsement by President Obama, we are seeing a shift in our culture that is being influenced by popular culture.”

Media coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act also played a role in shifting opinion. Nearly half (47%) of TV viewers surveyed felt that TV coverage had been generally well-balanced between proponents and opponents of gay marriage, while a third (33%) felt it was skewed towards the proponents.

Of the 1,096 respondents, 30% say that they watched some news coverage of the Supreme Court hearings.

Leading up to those historic hearings, Modern Family creator Steven Levitan expressed hope that his show had somehow benefited the national marriage equality conversation.

“If we played even the tiniest role in helping to defeat Prop 8 and giving all gay people the equal rights they deserve, then I’m a happy man,” Levitan said.

Cam and Mitch would be proud.

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