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Monday, June 27, 2011

NY's Gay Marriage Ruling in Line with Majority View

When same-sex marriages become legal in New York, 30 days after Friday's ruling by the state's legislature, the majority of Americans will likely be applauding or at least not complaining.

New York's decision to make same-sex marriages comes a little over a month after Gallup reported a historic turnaround on the issue. Specifically, Gallup reported that "For the first time in Gallup's tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages." 

The shift was based on a nine-percentage-point increase in support for same-sex marriage, driven by political independents and Democrats. (You can also get a quick summary on other groups' opinions in our Gallup News Minute on the topic.)

Trends are everything to us at Gallup and big movements like this don't come very often, especially on social issues where views can be very entrenched. However, views about same-sex relations have been moving over the past few years. This May, we also found even bigger majorities of Americans saying gay or lesbian relations should be legal and that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable. Our data painted a very different picture just three years agoCNN contributor David Frum is one of the many Americans who appears to have changed his mind in that time.

As advocates and opponents of gay marriage reassess their position in light of New York's ruling, they must do so with the understanding that Americans' views on this issue are, in fact, changing and evolving. At least for now, that movement is in favor of supporters. Gallup tracks these and other trends annually to provide up-to-date findings that can be put into context.  We'll update these trends again next May to see if and how things change further.

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In the meantime, you may also be interested in these stories:
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fast Facts on the Situation in Afghanistan

We'll poll after the president's address on Afghanistan to get Americans' thoughts on the plan he outlines and report those results to you next week.

In the meantime, here is some of what we know about how Americans view the situation:

  •  51% of Americans in May said things were going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan, an increase from 47% in late March, likely spurred by the killing of Osama bin Laden.
  • 58% at that time said the U.S. did not make a mistake in sending troops to Afghanistan, also improved from 53% in late March.
  • Americans were more negative prior to the May survey and for most of 2010.
  • The most positive attitudes on the war's progress came in July 2009, when 54% of Americans said things were going well. 
  • The most negative evaluations came a few months later, in November 2009, just before President Barack Obama outlined his policy toward the war, when 32% of Americans said the war was going well.
  • 58% of Americans supported Obama's timetable to begin withdrawing U.S. troops beginning in July 2011 when it was announced last summer.
The political challenge for Obama is the juxtaposition between further progress and spending on the war and a huge deficit and continuing challenges at home. To that regard:
Our surveys from inside Afghanistan, while less recent, also provide insight on how Afghans view the situation in their country:
For more data-driven news on Afghanistan and other conflicts, and to get new updates, sign up for any of the following email alerts or RSS feeds:  Afghanistan, War, Politics, All Gallup Headlines.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inside the New Egypt: What Egyptians Tell Gallup Post-Revolution

Egyptians expect a better future, both in their own lives and for their nation, following the revolution that altered the direction of their country and the mood of the region. Their optimism is evident even though Egyptians are less satisfied with their standard of living and other aspects of their everyday lives.  They plan to play a role in determining their country's future, with 90% saying they plan to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.

The findings are from Gallup's first survey in Egypt following the revolution, released today by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center at an event at  Gallup's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Among the findings presented by Gallup Senior Analyst Mohamed Younis:

  • Egyptians rate their "life in five years" better now than in fall of 2010. At the same time, they rate their "current life" worse, creating a "new optimism" about how their lives might improve in the future.
  • Similarly, more Egyptians want to continue living in their country (88%), even though fewer are currently satisfied with their standard of living.
  • Fewer Egyptians feel safe walking alone at night where they live than before the revolution. Egyptians are also more negative about the availability of good affordable housing and quality healthcare. 
  • The majority of Egyptians (69%) want religious leaders to play an advisory role in writing national legislation, rather than having full or no authority
  • Fifteen percent of Egyptians say they support the Muslim Brotherhood, more than support other parties. At the same time, no party has strong majority support or a commanding lead.
  • Nearly all Egyptians (91%) expect the upcoming presidential elections will be fair and honest, up significantly from perceptions before the revolution.
The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center discusses these findings in more detail and provides recommendations for leaders in its research brief. We also provide a concise news summary at

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fast Facts Relating to the Debt Ceiling Debate

With the tug-of-war between raising the debt ceiling and cutting more government spending underway in Washington, here are some fast facts from Americans' point of view:

See more data on Americans' views about the federal budget deficit in our Trends A-Z listing on the topic.

Additionally, stay up-to-date on future findings as we monitor Americans' opinions on the events and options coming out of the deficit debate in Washington by signing up to receive all of our politics news stories by e-mail alert or RSS feed.

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