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NJ Voters Agree With Christie’s Decision to Drop Gay Marriage Appeal

A solid majority of Garden State residents agree with the Christie Administration’s decision to drop its appeal in the same-sex marriage lawsuit today. According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll support for legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey now stands at 61 percent, versus 27 percent who oppose and 12 percent who aren’t sure.

Gay Marriage
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Opinion on the appeal is less lopsided; 53 percent say the state should accept the decision, while 40 percent side wanted it appealed to the state Supreme Court. This survey also marks that a plurality of Republicans supports allowing same-sex couples to marry.

“Beliefs about same-sex marriage have shifted rapidly,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “Fully one-quarter of today’s supporters tell us they were previously opposed. Not long ago, a ruling like this would have created a significant backlash. Now most voters agree with it.”

While they do agree with Christie’s decision to withdraw the appeal, a large majority of voters would still like to be the final decision makers. Sixty-two percent say voters should get to weigh in as Christie has been advocating, compared to 23 percent who believe the decision should lie with the courts and 10 percent who want to give the Legislature final say.

“This apparent contradiction occurs partly because 81 percent of those who oppose same-sex marriage want it left to voters, while proponents are far less likely to say voters need to make the decision,” explains Redlawsk. “A majority may like the outcome of the court ruling, but any time voters are asked if they should get a chance to decide an issue, they are very likely to say yes.”

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

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