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October 22, 2013

Just as wedding chimes were ringing out across New Jersey Monday, Rutgers released a new Eagleton poll showing that 61 percent of New Jerseyans supported legalization of same-sex marriage and only 27 percent opposed, with 12 percent saying they were unsure. Even 49 percent of Republicans said they support legalization, with 37 percent opposed.

Jews supported gay marriage 72 percent to 18 percent, and Catholics support it 60 percent to 25 percent. Only Protestants seem split on the issue, with 46 percent in support and 45 percent opposed. Born-again Christians were more likely to oppose gay marriage (42 percent support vs. 52 percent opposed) than other Protestant denominations (64 percent vs. 23 percent).

On the other hand, only 53 percent of those polled said Gov. Chris Christie should accept the New Jersey Superior Court decision, which was issued earlier this month, rather than appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. (The poll was taken early in October, before the Supreme Court issued its ruling to allow marriages to move forward pending an appeal and before Christie’s decision Monday to drop the legal challenge.)

According to David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll and a Rutgers professor of political science, the discrepancy between support for the issue and support for the appeal is due to the fact that some supporters wanted the issue left to voters. "Any time voters are asked if they should get a chance to decide an issue, they are very likely to say yes," he said.

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