Poll: Public Split on Same-Sex Marriage, A Gap Between Black Lawmakers and Voters

ALBANY—A new poll by Quinnipiac University finds New Yorkers are split on the issue of same-sex marriage, 46 to 46, but shows some revealing cross tabs:

– Jews support same-sex marriage 61 to 34 percent.

– Catholics oppose same-sex marriage 53-39 percent.

–Protestants oppose it 55-38 percent.

– Voters over 55 oppose same-sex marriage 55 to 37 percent, while younger voters support it; voters between 35 and 54 support the measure 48 to 44 percent and voters between 18-34 support the measure 61 to 33 percent.

– Black voters oppose same-sex marriage by a 57-35 percent margin and Hispanics oppose the measure 48-45, while white voters favor it, 47-45.

Those last cross-tabs are particularly interesting given the broad support for the measure among black and Hispanic legislators. (Not to mention broad opposition to the measure among Republican legislators in Albany, all of whom are white.)Several black legislators were absent from the Assembly vote Tuesday, and still others–including Michael Benjamin and Earlene Hooper–voted against the measure. But Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and David Paterson, both of whom are black, have expressed their strong support for the measure.

In the State Senate, Republicans had kept the measure from reaching the floor for years; all the members of the Republican conference in that chamber are white. There is more racial diversity on the Democratic side, and many black and Hispanic senators support same-sex marriage, some vocally. The most outspoken of the opponents in that house is State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., who is Puerto Rican.

Last month, a poll by Siena College found that 53 percent of voters supported same-sex marriage. The Quinnipiac poll, which surveyed more voters than did the Siena poll, puts the number lower, and also gave Paterson a higher approval rating than the Siena poll did.