March 8, 2013 - American Catholics Support Same-Sex Marriage, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Catholics Want New Direction From Next Pope

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American voter support for same-sex marriage is inching up and now stands at 47 - 43 percent, including 54 - 38 percent among Catholic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 48 - 46 percent statistical tie among all voters on same-sex marriage December 5 and reverses the 55 - 36 percent opposition in a July, 2008, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Among all adult Catholics, 52 percent say the Church is moving in the right direction, while 31 percent say it is going in the wrong direction.

Church leaders are out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today, all Catholics say 52 - 40 percent. Men say out of touch, 54 - 37 percent, while women agree by a smaller 49 - 43 percent margin.

The next pope should move the Church in new directions, 55 percent of Catholics say, while 38 percent say the pope should maintain the current direction.

"Catholic voters are leading American voters toward support for same-sex marriage," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Among all voters, there is almost no gender gap, but a big age gap. Voters 18 to 34 years old support same sex marriage 62 - 30 percent; voters 35 to 54 years old are divided 48 - 45 percent and voters over 55 are opposed 50 - 39 percent.

"Voters in military households are divided with 43 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed."

"Looking at all adult Catholics, different from the wider survey of all registered voters, we see a conflicted group: a slim majority say the Church is moving in the right direction while slim majorities say Church leaders are out of touch with their views and the next pope should change directions," Brown added.

American Catholics say 62 - 30 percent that the next pope should allow priests to marry and say 64 - 28 percent, including 68 - 24 percent among women, that he should relax the church ban on contraception.

Under the next pope, Catholics say 81 - 13 percent, the Church should do more to combat sexual abuse of young people by priests.

Catholics agree 59 - 35 percent that clergy should not be allowed to run for and serve in public office.

By a 51 - 41 percent margin, Catholics support Present Barack Obama's position that religious-based institutions, such as hospitals and universities, must arrange for their insurance companies to provide birth control coverage for employees.

Among Catholics, 16 percent have a very favorable opinion of Pope Benedict XVI, with 58 percent favorable, 15 percent unfavorable and 3 percent very unfavorable.

Religion is very important in their life, 57 percent of Catholics say, while 33 percent say fairly important and 9 percent say not very important.

From February 27 - March 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 497 adults Catholics with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent. The same-sex marriage question was asked of 1,944 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information or RSS feed, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

23. In general, do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?
                     REGISTERED VOTERS..........................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              47%    23%    65%    50%    46%    48%    48%    32%    63%
Oppose               43     69     29     38     44     42     43     56     32
DK/NA                10      8      6     12      9     10      9     12      5
 
                            WHITE...............................................   
                            COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Cath   Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No  
                            
Support              54%    59%    42%    34%    50%    45%    50%    20%    55% 
Oppose               38     32     48     55     41     46     40     72     34  
DK/NA                 8      9      9     10      9      9      9      7     11  
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......  Mltry
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+  HsHld
 
Support              58%    42%    43%    54%    58%    62%    48%    39%    43%
Oppose               32     48     47     37     37     30     45     50     45
DK/NA                10      9      9      9      6      7      7     11     12
 
TREND: In general, do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?
                     REGISTERED VOTERS.....
                     Mar 08  Dec 05  Jul 17
                     2013    2012    2008
 
Support              47      48      36
Oppose               43      46      55
DK/NA                10       7       9
 
 
24. How important would you say religion is in your life; very important, fairly important, or not very important?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Very important       57%    53%    61%    93%    40%    45%    62%    68%
Fairly important     33     33     32      7     44     41     29     25
Not very important    9     11      8      -     14     14      9      5
DK/NA                 1      2      -      -      2      -      -      2
 
TREND: How important would you say religion is in your life very important, fairly important, or not very important?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.......................
                     Mar 08  Apr 14  Jun 12  Jun 12  Apr 11
                     2013    2005    2003    2002    2002
 
Very important       57      64      56      60      59
Fairly important     33      27      28      30      34
Not very important    9       9      16      10       7
DK/NA                 1       -       -       -       -
 
 
25. Would you say you attend religious services every week, almost every week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, or never?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Every week           31%    29%    33%   100%     -     20%    36%    42%
Almost every week    12     13     11      -     17     11     12     13
Once or twice a mnth 18     17     18      -     26     21     17     12
A few times a year   28     28     28      -     41     35     27     19
Never                11     14      9      -     16     12      8     13
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -      -      -      1
 
TREND: Would you say you attend religious services every week, almost every week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, or never?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.......................
                     Mar 08  Apr 14  Jun 12  Jun 12  Apr 11
                     2013    2005    2003    2002    2002
 
Every week           31      30      30      30      34
Almost every week    12      13      17      15      13
Once or twice a mnth 18      18      18      14      20
A few times a year   28      30      26      30      24
Never                11       7       8      10       8
DK/NA                 -       -       1       1       -
 
 
26. In general do you think the Catholic Church of today is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Right direction      52%    55%    49%    71%    43%    56%    52%    48%
Wrong direction      31     29     33     18     37     27     34     33
DK/NA                17     16     18     11     20     17     15     19
 
TREND: In general do you think the Catholic Church of today is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Right direction      52      66
Wrong direction      31      14
DK/NA                17      20
 
 
27. In general, do you think that Catholic Church leaders are in touch with the views of Catholics in America today, or are they out of touch?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
In touch             40%    37%    43%    58%    32%    47%    39%    33%
Out of touch         52     54     49     34     59     46     53     54
DK/NA                 9      9      8      8      9      6      8     13
 
TREND: In general, do you think that Catholic Church leaders are in touch with the views of Catholics in America today, or are they out of touch?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
In touch             40      54
Out of touch         52      37
DK/NA                 9       8
 
 
28. Do you think that Catholic Church leaders in Rome exert too much control over the Catholic Church in the United States, too little control, or the right amount of control?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Too much             23%    22%    25%    14%    28%    20%    23%    30%
Too little           15     17     14     12     17     15     18     12
Right amount         52     49     54     70     43     55     51     50
DK/NA                10     12      7      4     12     10      9      8
 
TREND: Do you think that Catholic Church leaders in Rome exert too much control over the Catholic Church in the United States, too little control, or the right amount of control?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Too much             23      18
Too little           15      17
Right amount         52      57
DK/NA                10       8
 
 
29. Is your opinion of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Very favorable       16%    12%    20%    27%    11%    15%    16%    20%
Favorable            58     59     58     56     59     61     61     54
Unfavorable          15     16     13     13     16     17     12     15
Very unfavorable      3      3      2      2      3      2      3      3
DK/NA                 8     10      7      2     11      6      8      8
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS...........
                     BENEDICT XVI  JOHN PAUL II
                     Mar 08        Apr 11
                     2013          2002
 
Very favorable       16            39
Favorable            58            47
Unfavorable          15             5
Very unfavorable      3             1
DK/NA                 8             8
 
 
30. Do you think the next pope should move the Church in new directions or should he maintain the traditional positions of the Church?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
New directions       55%    51%    59%    43%    61%    56%    55%    55%
Maintain traditions  38     41     34     51     32     41     36     36
DK/NA                 7      8      7      6      7      3      8      9
 
 
31. (Split Sample A) Would you like the next pope of the Catholic Church to come from the United States or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS..................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less
 
Yes                  42%    41%    43%    43%    41%
No                   27     26     27     22     29
DK/NA                31     33     30     35     29
 
TREND: Would you like the next pope of the Catholic Church to come from the United States or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Yes                  42      29
No                   27      36
DK/NA                31      34
 
 
32. (Split Sample B) Would you like the next pope of the Catholic Church to come from a developing region, like South America or Asia, or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS..................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less
 
Yes                  29%    32%    26%    31%    29%
No                   44     38     49     39     45
DK/NA                27     30     24     30     26
 
 
33. Should the next pope support or oppose allowing priests to marry?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Support              62%    63%    61%    45%    70%    59%    62%    66%
Oppose               30     28     33     46     23     35     30     26
DK/NA                 8      9      7      9      7      6      8      8
 
TREND: Should the next pope support or oppose allowing priests to marry?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Support              62      53
Oppose               30      34
DK/NA                 8      13
 
 
34. Should the next pope support or oppose allowing women to become priests?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Support              62%    62%    62%    38%    73%    66%    62%    57%
Oppose               27     28     26     48     18     20     29     34
DK/NA                11     10     13     15     10     14      8     10
 
TREND: Should the next pope support or oppose allowing women to become priests?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Support              62      52
Oppose               27      35
DK/NA                11      13
 
 
35. Should the next pope allow Catholic clergy members to run for and serve in public office or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Yes                  35%    36%    33%    32%    36%    40%    28%    33%
No                   59     58     60     64     57     55     64     61
DK/NA                 6      6      7      5      7      5      7      6
 
TREND: Should the next pope allow Catholic clergy members to run for and serve in public office or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Yes                  35      32
No                   59      64
DK/NA                 6       5
 
 
36. Should the next pope relax the church ban on contraception or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Yes                  64%    60%    68%    51%    69%    68%    69%    53%
No                   28     32     24     39     23     25     26     33
DK/NA                 8      8      8      9      8      6      5     14
 
TREND: Should the next pope relax the church ban on contraception or not?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Yes                  64      55
No                   28      33
DK/NA                 8      13
 
 
37. Under the next pope, should the Catholic church do more to combat sexual abuse of young people by priests or is the church's current position about right?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Should do more       81%    81%    80%    74%    84%    80%    83%    79%
About right          13     14     12     22     10     17     11     13
DK/NA                 6      4      7      5      6      3      6      7
 
TREND: Under the next pope, should the Catholic church do more to combat sexual abuse of young people by priests or is the church's current position about right?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS
                     Mar 08  Apr 14
                     2013    2005
 
Should do more       81      86
About right          13      11
DK/NA                 6       4
 
 
38. As you may know, in 2012 President Obama announced a new policy on health insurance and birth control. Under the rule, if a religious-based institution, such as a Catholic hospital or university, objects to providing birth control coverage to its workers, its insurance company must pay for the coverage instead. Do you support or oppose this requirement?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-40  41-59  60+
 
Support              51%    50%    52%    47%    53%    58%    50%    43%
Oppose               41     43     39     42     40     34     43     50
DK/NA                 8      8      8     11      7      8      7      7
 
 

Demographic Summary