Pew poll: 61% of Republicans under age 30 support legalizing gay marriage

In case you were wondering why CPAC was so light on traditional-marriage rhetoric from the podium, here’s why. An event populated mainly by young conservatives and libertarians isn’t a good venue for that anymore.

You’ll hear more of it, I’m sure, at the convention two years from now. But at the rate we’re going, probably not too much more. Where will the 30-49 group be in 2016?


The most striking numbers there, actually, are how small the differences are between various Democratic age groups. It’s an astounding consensus to have 18-year-old and 65-year-old Dems both above 60 percent support and within 15 points of each other on a practice that was barely on the cultural radar 20 years ago. Makes me wonder how many senior-citizen votes the GOP picked up over the last decade as the 65+ demographic sorted itself out. And how many younger votes it lost.

Pew’s not the only pollster lately showing majority support for gay marriage among young GOPers, either. A few weeks ago, the NYT/CBS poll found 56 percent of Republicans under the age of 45 in favor of legalized SSM. (Just 29 percent of Republicans age 45 or older agreed.) That’s a rare case of sharp disagreement on an issue among different conservative age demographics. The same poll found the two groups within five points of each other on guns, abortion, the minimum wage, and ObamaCare, The only other prominent outlier was — ta da — marijuana legalization, where 43 percent of younger Republicans support legalization versus only 28 percent of older ones.

Exit question: Given Republican sensitivity to changing demographics and the fact that millennials might be more gettable next time than last, is there a single major 2016 candidate who’s likely to spend much time on gay marriage on the stump? The only one I can think of is Huckabee, who may calculate that his only path to victory is consolidating social conservatives. Everyone else, including social cons like Cruz and Rubio, will probably take a federalist approach to traditional marriage.