WISCONSINREPORT.COM (07/21/08) - American voters oppose same-sex marriage 55 - 36 percent, but they don't want government to get involved in banning the practice, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pee-ack) University national poll released last week. Democrats support same-sex marriage by a narrow 47 - 43 percent margin, while Republicans oppose it 80 - 14 percent and independent voters oppose it 49 - 43 percent. Women in the survey oppose same-sex marriage 51 - 40 percent and men oppose it 61 - 31 percent.
Voters also say 50 - 44 percent that states should not give legal recognition to same-sex marriages performed in other states, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.
Given three choices, 32 percent of American voters say same-sex couples should be allowed to marry while 33 percent support civil unions for same-sex couples and 29 percent say there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples.
But voters oppose 56 - 38 percent amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Democrats oppose such an amendment 64 - 30 percent, as do independent voters 61 - 34 percent, while Republicans favor a constitutional ban 56 - 38 percent.
By a narrow 49 - 45 percent margin, voters nationwide say their states should not attempt to ban same-sex marriage.
"American voters oppose same-sex marriage and they don't want to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but by a narrow margin, they don't want their states to ban it," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And they don't want to amend the Constitution on this issue. "Given a range of choices, they divide into thirds - for gay marriage, for civil unions, for a complete ban."
Looking at the U.S. Supreme Court and social issues, American voters narrowly disapprove 43 - 39 percent of the job the Court is doing, the lowest rating in five years of Quinnipiac University surveys on the Court and the first time the Court has received a negative score. Voters say 42 - 33 percent that the Supreme Court is moving in the wrong direction.
While 33 percent of voters say the Court is "about right," 25 percent say it is too liberal and 31 percent say it is too conservative.
A total of 87 percent say a President's power to appoint Supreme Court justices is "very important" or "somewhat important" in their vote this November.
By a 63 - 33 percent margin, American voters support the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. But Americans remain divided on the issue of abortion:
- 19 percent say abortion should be legal in all cases;
- 38 percent say it should be legal in most cases;
- 24 percent say it should be illegal in most cases;
- 14 percent say it should be illegal in all cases.
By a 54 - 40 percent margin voters nationwide support stricter gun control laws, but voters oppose 78 - 17 percent amending the U.S. Constitution to ban individual gun ownership.
American voters favor the death penalty 63 - 29 percent for persons convicted of murder, but when offered a different choice, 47 percent favor the death penalty for convicted murderers while 44 percent favor life without parole.
By a 55 - 38 percent margin, voters favor the death penalty for a person convicted of raping a child. Women and men are consistent in their support.
American voters support 53 - 41 percent giving money to faith-based organizations to help them run social programs. But voters say 77 - 16 percent groups which receive federal funds can not discriminate by hiring only members of their own faith.
"Most Republicans are leery of gun control; most Democrats are for it, but nobody wants a Constitutional amendment to ban guns," Carroll said. "Should President Bush's support of federal money for faith-based organizations survive his time in the White House? A small majority think so, more Democrats than Republicans," Carroll said.
From July 8 -13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,783 voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and nationwide as a public service and for research.