Poll Shows Growing Support For Gay Marriage, Abortion, Legal Marijuana

While the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections indicated that Americans were in the mood for a more fiscally conservative approach to governance, the results of a recent Pew Research poll suggest that the country is becoming less socially conservative.

The results of the poll released on Thursday showed increasing public support for same-sex marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana. At the same time, the poll showed an increase in support for gun rights in recent years.

Pew said 45 percent of Americans now support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally compared to 46 percent that are opposed.

Support for same-sex marriage has risen 3 percentage points from 42 percent a year ago and a whopping 18 percent points from 1996, when just 27 percent were in favor.

The poll also found that support for legal abortion in all or most cases rose to 54 percent from 46 percent in 2009, although the number is still below the 59 percent support seen in 1995.

Additionally, Pew said that 45 percent of those surveyed favor legalizing marijuana, up slightly from 41 percent in 2010 and up sharply from 16 percent in 1990.

Fifty percent are currently still opposed to legalizing marijuana, although that is down from 52 percent in 2010 and 81 percent two decades ago.

As mentioned above, the poll also showed an increase in support for gun rights, which rose to 48 percent in the latest poll from 37 percent in 2008.

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