By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 28th, 2011 - 1:50pm
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Fifty-two percent of New Jersey voters believe same-sex marriages should be legal, according to today's Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Support for legalizing gay marriage jumps to 61 percent when the issue is framed in terms of “marriage equality,” the favored description of advocates for same-sex couples.

Almost four-in-10 respondents (39 percent) oppose legalizing gay marriage while 9 percent are unsure. Twenty-seven percent are against marriage equality, while 3 percent are unfamiliar with the term and 9 percent have no opinion.

“Support for legalizing same-sex relations in New Jersey continues to be solid,” said poll Director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Young people are overwhelmingly in favor, though a majority of all age groups is supportive, except for those 65 and over. Whatever it is called, support for state recognition of same-sex marriage remains strong and most likely will grow over time.”

Support is particularly strong among younger age groups, women and those with a gay or lesbian family member, friend, or acquaintance. Catholics are stronger supporters than Protestants and also more likely to increase support when the issue is phrased as marriage equality.

Democrats and independents both show majority support for gay marriage and even greater support for marriage equality, but the large majority of Republicans oppose legalization regardless of how the issue is phrased.

Results are from a poll of 903 adults conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Oct. 6-9. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points. The two different versions of the same-sex marriage question were asked of randomly selected half-samples. The margin of error for these questions is +/-4.7 percentage points.

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