An October 29 poll conducted by The Hollywood Reporter (THR) in conjunction with Penn Schoen Berland has found that series with LGBT characters such as Glee, Modern Family and The New Normal are helping drive voters to historically unprecedented levels of support of marriage equality. This is especially important as tomorrow voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington will have the opportunity to become the first states to approve marriage equality by voter referendum, while voters in Minnesota can defeat a constitutional amendment that bans marriage equality within the state.
THR found in the past 10 years about three times as many voters have become more supportive of marriage equality (31%) as have become more against (10%). When asked how television has influenced them, 27% say LGBT-inclusive TV made them stronger advocates for marriage for same-sex couples and 6% said what these shows made them more anti-marriage equality. Almost twice as many voters under 35 say these shows made them more in favor of marriage equality compared to voters over the age of 35, 38% to 20%. Of all voters, 42% say seeing marriage equality storylines on TV has made them more aware and active on the issue.
Those voting for President Obama are twice as likely to watch Modern Family, twice as likely to watch Glee and three times more likely to watch The New Normal. Shows like these have also led 13% of likely Romney voters to say they have become more supportive of marriage equality. If Mitchell and Cameron get married on Modern Family, a favorite show of both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, only 11% of Romney supporters said they are less likely to watch versus 0% of Obama voters.
This trend in the rising support for marriage equality can be seen in other polls including the 2011 Gallup poll, which was the first to ever show a majority (53%) in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, and the 2012 Gallup poll showing 50% in favor and 48% against.
While some say they become more opposed to marriage equality based on what they see on TV, they are largely outnumbered by those who become more supportive. “This data would suggest that seeing this stuff makes it more socially acceptable,” says THR pollster Jon Penn. “Views on gay marriage have exponentially gone in its favor since 2002.”
Do your part to help ensure marriage equality by visiting glaad.org/vote and learning how you can help voters in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington ensure marriage equality, spread the word and ensure that thousands of transgender Americans can protect their vote.