One thing I find extremely interesting is that while support for gay marriage is increasing, support for women’s right to choose is not. Here are two graphs to compare. One shows support for and opposition to abortion, and the other shows support for and opposition to gay marriage. Both cover the same period, from 1996 to 2011.
What you see here is that from 1996 to 2011 opposition to abortion has held steady and even increased while opposition to gay marriage has decreased, and dramatically so. This seems especially odd given these two issues are always portrayed as being the top two issues of the “culture wars” today.
This gets especially interesting when you take age into account. Here are some charts that do just that:
While you see a dramatic difference between the younger demographic (18 to 34) and the older demographic (55 and older) on whether gay marriage should be legalized – 70% as compared to 39% – you do not see the same difference on abortion, where 51% of the younger demographic identify as pro-choice as compared to 45% of the older demographic.
In fact, a greater proportion of the younger demographic hold that abortion is “immoral” than of the older demographic (53% to 51%) and a greater proportion of the younger demographic want to see abortion banned in all circumstances than of the older demographic (24% to 22%). (Note: I’m not sure of the margin of error in these charts.)
And yes, that chart really does show that 59% of Americans aged 18 to 34 want abortion to be legal in “few or no” circumstances.
I personally think, and I could be wrong, that what has happened is that proponents of gay marriage have successfully made the rhetoric of the gay marriage fight about allowing gay people to have families like everyone else while opponents of abortion have successfully made the rhetoric of the abortion fight about saving the lives of sweet, cuddly babies.
I’m really curious, though, about my readers’ thoughts, and I’m offering these graphs and charts as more of a starting point for conversation than anything else. Why do you think support for gay marriage is on the rise and while support for women’s right to choose is comparatively stagnant?