(CNN) - A majority of Americans – and even a majority of same-sex marriage opponents – believe it's "inevitable" that gays and lesbians will eventually be able to legally wed, a new survey indicates.
The poll, from the Pew Research Center, comes as the United States Supreme Court prepares to rule on two high profile same-sex marriage cases. A decision will come by the end of June.
Seventy-two percent of Americans believe legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable, according to the poll. That's a jump from 2004, when 59% held that view.
Among those who support marriage rights for gays and lesbians, 85% said legal recognition was inevitable. But even among those who oppose same-sex marriage, 59% believe the opposing viewpoint will eventually win out and become the law of the land.
The poll reflected a longstanding trend of greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, seen in surveys going back several years. In Thursday's Pew poll, 51% of Americans say they support legal recognition for same-sex marriages.
And like past polls, more Americans report personally knowing someone who is gay, either in their family or circle of friends.
Demographically, older Americans are still less likely to support same-sex marriage, though even a majority of those 65 or older believe marriage rights for gays and lesbians are inevitable.
The Pew survey was conducted by telephone May 1-5 from a sample of 1,504 American adults. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.