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. cedar rapids

    'Carrie – Well A marriage is defined by GOD and not us human!!! '

    marriage is a man made concept, like god is, we can define it however we deem.

    and why is it you lot claim god will show his anger at gay marriage but he did absolutely jack during the spectre that was slavery?

    March 25, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Roger

    Rob Portman is a fool.

    March 25, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. rudix

    Sad for what we become...a gay society...media power...and the other sad part is that gays are humans like me and you and they deserve all human rights....but marriage???the definition is man and woman only....as you can not call a cell phone table...if the question is human right we are united... marriage...its terrible whats going on.......

    March 25, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. gradschooldude

    Sending all my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the USA good thoughts on the eve of what may be an historical day for equal rights and protection under the law in the U.S. My thoughts are with you all! Best wishes from Canada!!!

    March 25, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. GG

    Enough with this garbage! It is all a lie, the majority does not support gay marriage – there is no such thing.

    March 25, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Help yourself

    @Help us – thank goodness satan is imaginary, then.

    March 25, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Satch99

    and again the Religious nut jobs and so-called "Family Values" people that think gay people will ruin our "way of life (lmao.... whatever that means!?!), again show how out of touch and emotionally and mentally repressed and OPPRESSED they are.

    March 25, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. justthefactsla

    Read the Bible that you swear on. It says Man and Woman in every Courthouse in this country.
    The BIBLE states the following:
    Matthew 19:4 (KJV)
    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    Matthew 19:5 (KJV)
    And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    Genesis 2:21 (KJV)
    And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
    Genesis 2:22 (KJV)
    And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
    Genesis 2:23 (KJV)
    And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
    Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
    Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    March 25, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Help yourself

    rudix – did that make better sense in your head? The definition of marriage has changed many times over millenia from culture to culture. Stop pretending otherwise. Straight people are ruining marriage, let someone else have a try.

    March 25, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. PushingBack

    gradschooldude – Thank you!

    To all that are in denial, it's coming. If not this week, then still soon. Get over it and mind your own business!

    March 25, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. ODA155

    ...never mind that he knew for two years and only "came out of the closet himself" AFTER there was no longer a political backlash... yep, "he's seen the light."

    March 25, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    you all need to ask GOD WHAT HE WONTS FOR HIS WORLD AND Belive in him

    March 25, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. randy

    Oh so Rob Portman fights against gay rights until it effects HIS family? Self-centered conservative twit.

    March 25, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. mg

    I admit finding out that I had a gay son changed my view on gay marriage. I voted against it in Calif but now have given it much more thought then I had before I found out he was gay. I'd say, we vote in Calif now and it would pass!

    March 25, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. cedar rapids

    'chet – I have gay friends and relatives but they respect my beliefs that Marriage as I believe it to be is between a man and a woman'

    meaning what? they dont invite you to their weddings? they dont talk to you about it?

    March 25, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. cedar rapids

    to the future is looking so bright I need sun glasses –

    I really look forward to the America the repubs want to bring us....an America where minorities can be dragged out their homes and killed by the police for looking at them funny. Where christianity is the only allowed religion and members of all other religions are burnt at the stake. Where the rich are allowed to buy the poor and make them dance for their amusement, and only they are allowed to vote. Where each baby is given a baptismal handgun, by law.

    Figured if you were going to play the nonsense future game then I would as well. That was fun.

    March 25, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. cedar rapids

    'serna – CNN and its fake polls – 53% do not support gay marriage. What is their agenda? Speed up the moral decay so they can rule over a broken society?'

    CNN wants to rule the US?

    March 25, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Mike

    Wow... the vitriol in some of these comments. It makes one wonder if some of these people had a bad childhood? Let go of the hate.

    Equality for all!

    March 25, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Al

    Man makes all things right in his own eyes. Not God's. BTW....CNN polls have all been just a little on the gay side!!

    March 25, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. mike

    let them move next door to you so your kids can see your values in action :)

    March 25, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. The fact of the matter

    A CNN poll... that tells the story.

    March 25, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. James PDX

    As god (too) slowly dies, our laws and morals will continue to change to a basis of reason rather than mythology. I'm sad I will die of old age before the cycle is completed, but most humans take a long time to unlearn things taught to them by those they love and trust.

    March 25, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Hugh Mann

    do a poll and find out how many people have racists in their families, or misogynists

    March 25, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Fred Evil

    It's easy to be a bigot, until you know someone you hate personally.
    Then you realize your hate doesn't make sense.

    March 25, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Fred Evil

    "justthefactsla – Read the Bible that you swear on"
    I don't swear on fairy tales. Not Grimm's, not Mother Goose, and certainly not Yahweh.

    March 25, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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