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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

March 21, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Support for gay marriage: How does Seattle rank?

The results of two national polls showing growing acceptance of same-sex marriage were released this week.   But we certainly don’t need a poll to tell us that the Seattle area supports marriage equality — after all, we voted for it.  In last November’s election, Referendum 74 to approve same-sex marriage passed by 67 percent in King County and 53 percent in Snohomish County.

But just how strong is our level of support compared with other parts of the country?

In surveys of more than 200,000 Americans conducted between October 2011 and September 2012 — slightly before voters here approved Ref. 74 — the Seattle area ranked sixth out of 79 metropolitan areas for the percentage of adults who showed some level of support for gay marriage.

The map below illustrates the metro areas with the 10 highest and 10 lowest levels of support.  Roll your mouse over the circles to see the data:

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Metro areas with highest and lowest approval of legal same-sex marriage

[do action=”gaymarriage”][/do]

Source: Scarborough GfK/MRI 2012 Rel. 2

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Boston topped the rankings, while Knoxville, Tenn., came in last.  Pretty much what you’d expect, right?

But digging a little deeper into the data is informative and perhaps a bit more surprising.

 

[do action=”marriage”][/do]

 Source: Scarborough GfK/MRI 2012 Rel. 2

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I broke out the approval levels for gay marriage among various demographic categories: age, sex, marital status, education, type of occupation, and political party affiliation.  And I compared our area with the lowest-ranked place in the country, Knoxville.  The results are charted above; roll your mouse over each bar to see the data.

As you can see on the chart, none of the demographic categories — not even political party affiliation — come anywhere close to age as a predictor of support for marriage equality.  A 20-something in Knoxville is far more likely to support gay marriage than a retiree in Seattle — 40 percent more, in fact.

Is there any issue facing the country today that divides young and old more sharply than same-sex marriage?  And as the data show, that holds as true for a liberal area like Seattle as it does for the Bible Belt.

 

Comments | More in Demographics, Market Research | Topics: gay, marriage

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