Gallup reveals the new normal. The cross-over point comes with Obama's election. One critical reason for the long-term trend:
One fact the Catholic hierarchy needs to understand: Catholics are the most pro-gay of all Christian denominations. 66 percent believe gay relationships are moral (compared with 41 percent of Protestants); and 51 percent favor marriage equality. The cardinals are, once again, directly opposed to the moral sense of a big majority of American Catholics. You can also overstate racial difference: the Gallup poll finds no difference between white and non-white support for marriage equality: 49 and 50 percent respectively.
The CBS poll shows something else: that there is a residual core of around 30 percent, even among the younger generation, who oppose all legal recognition of gay couples (which is the GOP position). Equally, a resilient 62 percent are in favor of either civil unions or civil marriages. The generational split at this point is between full marriage equality and civil unions. Among the under 45s, marriage crushes civil unions; among the over 45s, civil unions are a place where more people feel comfortable. Which means to say that the GOP is stranded with their base on a smaller and smaller island of total opposition to rights for gay couples. That base has intensity – sometimes of a furious kind. But the intensity is beginning to have a hint of desperation about it.