WASHINGTON — Support is growing in the United States for marriage equality, suggests a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday that also found a majority in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
Forty-eight percent of respondents contacted by telephone said they supported same-sex marriage, up from 36 percent when Quinnipiac pollsters asked the same question in 2008.
Forty-six percent were opposed, down from 55 percent.
Among white Roman Catholics, 49 percent were in favor — despite strong opposition by the US Conference on Catholic Bishops to gays and lesbians tying the knot.
The findings come ahead of a decision, possibly on Friday, by the US Supreme Court on whether to consider the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, which is legal in nine states but not recognized in federal law.
“It seems pretty clear that attitudes towards same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
In October last year, the Pew Research Center found 46 percent in favor of same-sex marriage and 44 percent opposed, with support growing more steeply in recent years.
Quinnipiac University’s poll also indicated that 51 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legalized, with 44 percent opposed. Support was strongest among men and those aged 18 to 29.
“This is the first time Quinnipiac University asked this question (but) it seems likely that, given the better than 2-1 majority among younger voters, legalization is just a matter of time,” Brown said.
On other issues, 53 percent doubted climate change led to last month’s Superstorm Sandy, and 47 percent said David Petraeus was right to quit as director of the Central Intelligence Agency over an extramarital affair, compared to 41 percent who thought he should have stayed on.
Quinnipiac University said it interviewed 1,949 registered voters across the United States between November 28 and December 3, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.