Only 32 percent of New Jersey voters oppose legalizing gay marriage, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll. In fact, a majority of New Jerseyans (52 percent) now support gay marriage, up from 46 percent on the last Rutgers poll on the issue in 2009. (A full 16 percent of respondents said they were still unsure.) But poll director David Redlawsk said the most striking change has been the reduction in opposition, from 42 percent to 32 percent.
Still, 58 percent of respondents said they would support civil unions for same-sex couples — which New Jersey already has instituted — as an alternative to gay marriage. Only 26 percent of respondents said they were opposed to civil union as an alternative.
Most respondents (66 percent) said they had a friend or close acquaintance who was gay, while 32 percent said they had a family member who was gay or lesbian.
The demographics on this issue are interesting. Catholics were more likely to support gay marriage than Protestants, while regular church-goers of either religion were less likely to support legalization. Blacks were more likely to oppose gay marriage than whites (40 percent vs. 28 percent). The more educated respondents were, the more likely they were to support the issue. Women were more likely to approve than men, 58 percent to 47 percent. Younger voters are much more supportive of the issue, with 77 percent of voters under 30 in the Yes column.