March 25th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: 'Rob Portman effect' fuels support for same-sex marriage

Washington (CNN) – One day before the Supreme Court hears a high profile case on same-sex marriage, a new national poll indicates that the percentage of Americans who say they have a family member or close friend who is gay or lesbian is on the rise. And that increase matches a jump in the percent of the public who support legal same-sex marriages.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey, 57% say they have a family member or close friend who is gay or lesbian, up 12 points from 2007.

"The number of Americans who support same-sex marriage has risen by almost the same amount in that time - from 40% in 2007 to 53% today - strongly suggesting that the rise in support for gay marriage is due in part to the rising number of Americans who have become aware that someone close to them is gay," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Some people have recently taken to calling it the 'Rob Portman effect,' after the Republican senator from Ohio who learned that his son is gay and changed his position on gay marriage as a result," adds Holland.

Portman made his announcement recently in an exclusive television interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

The survey's Monday release comes a day before the Supreme Court hears a challenge to California's Proposition 8. On Wednesday, the justices will hear a challenge to the federal government's Defense of Marriage Act. Both measures define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

According to the poll, people who say they know someone who is gay or lesbian are more likely to be younger and more likely to have attended college, with women more likely to say that than men. And not surprisingly, support for gay marriage is highest among women, college educated Americans, and the young.

"Attitudes toward homosexuality are the result of many complex, interrelated factors. Past polling, for example, has also shown that support for gay marriage has risen during a time when a growing number of Americans believe that homosexuality is something a person is born with. But years of polling suggests that the growing number of Americans who know someone who is gay has contributed to an environment in which gay marriage now receives support from a majority of Americans," says Holland.

The new poll was conducted March 15-17 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. freedom

    CNN is giving Rob Portman more power than he has. He's one repbublican, and one man. Please.

    March 25, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Marc

    Quoting: "not surprisingly, support for gay marriage is highest among women, college educated Americans, and the young."

    Yeah, I suppose it is "not surprising", but I'd still like to think that as a straight, middle-aged white guy that supports marriage equality, it wouldn't cause everyone's jaws to hit the floor when I mention it.

    March 25, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. glenview0818

    I am for Gay rights completely, but this tremendous boost from the media is out of control. How about focusing on some of the serious national and international issues? I have to believe the media is complicit in covering up how bad our government is doing. Health care costs will destroy our economy in 10 years and all we can think about is gay marriage. One simple act by congress can take care of it and no one would say a thing. But every slimy politician wants to tag a pay back rider on it and there it sits with every one of those crooks trying to steal tax dollars using it as hostage. I say get rid of the whole bunch of them any way necessary so our great country can move on to the real issues at hand.

    March 25, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. glenview0818

    When ever I make a comment it is awaiting moderation. Truth hurts.

    March 25, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. SJ

    Anyone who violates Divine law will receive their due punishment. People can mis-interpret Romans 1 (last 8 verses) but the truth is mentioned very explicitly. The punishment is not only for the ones who indulge in practices violating Divine principles but also for those who support them. AMEN

    March 25, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Superman

    Wrong is now right !

    March 25, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Dave

    Just give them the term "marriage". The straight people can coin a new term to identify normal marriage. And of course the percentage is on the rise, no one wants to think about their family members being hell bound. The former things will be passed away, so you will not even miss them in the next life!

    March 25, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Dave

    Just give them the term "marriage". The straight people can coin a new term to identify normal marriage. And of course the percentage is on the rise, no one wants to think about their family members being headed into the pit. The former things will be passed away, so you will not even miss them in the next life!

    March 25, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Steve Jans

    I don't support it, I just don't care about it. Lets talk about something important now please

    March 25, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Pam

    I strongly support gay marriage – when you have bosses, friends, neighbors who are gay, how can you NOT support these good people? However, even if I knew no one who was gay, I would still strongly support gay marriage. Why? Because I'm a decent human being who has empathy for other people and their rights as Americans. It's funny (not funny ha ha) that the only reason that many republicans support gay marriage is because someone in their family is gay. No empathy for people out of their families. Tells me everything I need to know about republicans. They only care about others when it affects THEM personally.

    March 25, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Dave

    Just give them the term "marriage". The straight people can coin a new term to identify normal marriage. And of course the percentage is on the rise, no one wants to think about their family members being hell bound. The former things will be passed away, so you will not even miss them in the next life!

    March 25, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Joe A

    The argument goes like this "I have a gay friend, my gay friend is a good person! all gay people should get married!" not much more substance to it...

    March 25, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. snowtrails

    17 trillion in debt,. taxes rising across the board and CNN's top stories are all about the 2% of gays in this country that hav caused more stir than they are worth. What are you trying to cover up with these worthless stories??

    March 25, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. TJ

    Because this man's son is gay, he changed his mind. Well I am glad he has had a change of heart but what a shame it was not sooner rather than later – and what a shame it was pretty self centered as well.

    His interview on CNN was not impressive. He stated he never really thought about it before.... Where has he been?

    I am no tthat impressed with quality of the GOP. How could a US Senator never have think about this before? and admit it.

    March 25, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. felix

    So sin is everywhere. That's old news.

    March 25, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. achepotle

    As a member of a backwards Iron Age cult, I must object.

    March 25, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. da

    yawn. No wonder nothing important gets done in Washington. Because they never TACKLE anything important. Wake me up when September ends...geesh.

    March 25, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Hammer Of The Gods

    ******
    Robo

    Bogus. I don't believe those numbers. Why should we believe this? A liberal media outlet supporting a liberal minority agenda, WOW. I'm shocked!!! Pull my other leg, it plays jingle-bells.

    You didnt believe the elction results in November either.

    March 25, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. are122

    "Obama expects debate on immigration reform bill next month" "GOP/Teatrolls respond with blood oath to delay it until at least May, just to thwart him." .....Let's hope they mean May of 2025.

    March 25, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Omg

    Would somebody please tell the convicted pedophile:jerry sandusky:to shut the hell up. We dont want to hear from him anymore in this lifetime. Pervert!

    March 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Wayne

    Your mom is gay or lesbian.

    March 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Carrie

    Well A marriage is defined by GOD and not us human!!! Thereforel; God said a marriage is between a man and a woman not a man with a man or woman with a woman... We need to stop deciding what's right and what's wrong with God's laws and lets obey his commandments. Just because one's son is gay does not mean you have to support "Gay Marriage" when you should be supporting the Lord your Savior's law, who is the only one who is going to save you from eternal death!!!! Please people stop supporting our worldy views just to make others happy who are not going to save you from eternal death. Look at how wicked this world is becoming after we continue to disobey God's law time after time after time. Nothing should be change just because we live in modern times. God is the same as he was before, now and he will be forever. Keep "Marriage" between a man and a woman and lets keep our morals and values high!!!

    March 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. johnjon33

    we shall overcome..................... we're also very patient.

    March 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. jbg757

    Marriage is for a man and a woman. I don't want to see two males living as a couple next door holding hands and kissing.

    March 25, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. JiminNM

    Lots of misguided people in this world, and getting worse day by day.

    March 25, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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