It’s also worth looking at this important data compiled by Andrew Gelman and his colleagues, which breaks national trends down at a state-by-state level:
The more important turning points in public opinion, however, may be occurring at the state level, especially if states continue to control who can get married.
According to our research, as recently as 2004, same-sex marriage did not have majority support in any state. By 2008, three states had crossed the 50 percent line. *
Today, 17 states are over that line (more if you consider the CNN estimate correct that just over 50 percent of the country supports gay marriage).
To mount one of my favorite hobbyhorses, I would also note that same-sex marriage is most popular in Massachusetts, the state where if you’ll remember a favorable court decision made same-sex marriage permanently unpopular.
This context also lends further force to Richard Just’s devastating critique of Obama’s position on same-sex marriage. On the merits, his collection of positions is ludicrously incoherent, and it can be no longer politically justified either. He has no excuse for not providing leadership on this issue, and it will stain his historical reputation.