A new poll measuring statewide opinions on same-sex marriage was released Monday. Some results of the survey were unexpected.
According to Zions Bank and UtahPolicy.com poll, 61 percent of the 400 survey participants interviewed last week completely or somewhat oppose same-sex marriage. Similarly, 62 percent said they support the state’s decision to take the fight over Amendment 3 to the Supreme Court. Despite this, a majority of those interviewed—58 percent—said they thought the state’s ban would be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
“So even though a clear majority of Utahns think that the state is going to lose the fight at the Supreme Court, they still think that it is a worthy fight to have,” said UtahPolicy.com’s managing editor Bryan Schott.
Schott said the poll fell predictably down political lines, with 87 percent of Republicans opposing gay marriage and 79 percent of Democrats supporting it. What was surprising, Schott said, was how independents polled.
“We found that 54 percent of independent voters oppose same-sex marriage. That number kind of shocked me; I was not expecting that high of a number among independents,” Schott said. “What this tells me is that same-sex marriage is still a very, very toxic issue politically for many Utahns.”
The poll also found that religious affiliation plays a big role in how people feel about same-sex marriage. 88 percent of people who considered themselves “very active” in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were opposed to same-sex marriage. Opposition decreased amongst other religious groups.
“When we talked to ‘somewhat active’ Mormons, 34 percent opposed same-sex marriage. When we talked to ‘non-active’ Mormons, 34 percent opposed. Catholics, 34 percent opposed; Protestants, 39 percent opposed; no religion at all, only six percent opposed,” Schott said.
Schott said he does not see this trend changing anytime soon, though Utah’s younger voters do seem more likely to support same-sex marriage—a trend that is seen nationally.
“Unless the LDS Church were to come out and say same-sex marriage is okay, you’re not going to see Utahns’ attitudes flip overall. There’s going to be a generational change down the line, we’ve found voters 18 to 24 mostly support same-sex marriage, which echoes what’s happening across the country, but here in Utah, it’s going to take a long time for these attitudes to change.”
The poll was conducted from August 12 to 14 and included people who identified as likely to vote in upcoming elections.