A majority of older Americans now support gay marriage, reflecting a first for the age group in a steady shift in attitudes about the issue, according to a new Gallup poll.
In a survey released Thursday
, 53 percent of Americans 65 and older say same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages — up from 42 percent in January 2014 and 14 percent in January 1996.
"This year marks the first time in Gallup's trend that the majority of adults aged 65 and older said gay marriage should be legal," Gallup's Justin McCarthy writes, noting, however. the backing "is still well below the 83 percent support among 18- to 29-year-olds, the highest support among the age groups."
In other findings:
- 61 percent of Americans say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid, with public support more than doubling over the past 20 years.
- 23 percent of Americans say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on gay marriage, while 44 percent say it is one of many factors.
- The percentage of Republicans saying gay marriage is a pivotal voting issue for them has fallen to 18 percent — down from 27 percent last year.
The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
"Attitudes on gay marriage, as well as on other LGBT issues, have been shifting since Gallup started measuring them," McCarthy writes.
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