POLL: Nope, Marriage Equality Doesn't Make Americans Mad

Marriage Equality Protesters

Nationwide marriage equality may be a source of outrage for conservative talking heads and certain Republican presidential candidates, but for the majority of Americans? Not so much.

In a wide-ranging new online poll on anger, “American Rage,” conducted by Esquire, NBC News, and Survey Monkey, respondents were shown several imaginary news headlines and asked if the headlines made them very angry, somewhat angry, not so angry, or not angry at all. The headline “More Than 100,000 Couples Have Wed Since Supreme Court Ruling” received the highest percentage of “not angry at all” responses — 60 percent, according to results posted Sunday on Esquire’s website. Only 22 percent said the headline made them very or somewhat angry.

The next highest percentage of “not angry at all” reactions was for the headline “Caitlyn Jenner’s Dream Wedding” — 39 percent of respondents said it did not evoke any anger. However, 25 percent said it made them very angry, 16 percent somewhat angry, and 18 percent not so angry. The “angry” responses might not all be the result of transphobia, as they could “reflect a general aversion to tabloid-style celebrity gossip journalism,” notes The New Civil Rights Movement.

The headlines that angered respondents much more were reports of school shootings, police shootings of unarmed black men, fraud committed by business executives, billionaires trying to influence elections, congressional dysfunction, and Bill Cosby being cleared of sexual assault charges.

Men were more likely than women to be angry about Jenner’s theoretical wedding, 46 percent versus 35 percent, and marriage equality, 27 percent versus 18 percent.

Several other survey questions turned up responses indicating support for LGBT people. “The social-justice issue that garnered the most agreement was LGBT rights,” The Washington Post observes in its report on the poll.

One listed several subsets of the population and asked, “Which of them are treated in a way that makes you angry?” Forty-one percent of respondents said they were angered by the way LGBT people are treated. This was the largest percentage for any population group except blacks — an equal percentage of respondents were angered by the treatment of black people. (Respondents could choose as many groups as they wished.)

Putting it in a slightly different way, the pollsters asked which groups had a right to be angry at how they’re treated — and 45 percent said LGBT individuals did, again the largest percentage for any group except blacks; 47 percent thought blacks had a right to be angry.

Another question concerned Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples (until a court ordered her to do so). Sixty-one percent opposed Davis’s action, and only 24 percent supported it; the remainder said they were not sure.

“A majority of Davis supporters believes the U.S. is no longer the Christian nation it once was,” Esquire reports. “They also believe that the government interfering with people’s ability to practice religion is of greater concern than religious groups forcing their beliefs on others.”

In addition to issues of sexuality, race, and religion, the survey looked at the anger generated by immigration, economic problems, and different treatment of men and women. It was conducted from November 20 to 24 among a national sample of 3,257 Americans aged 18 and older. 

Click here to view the poll results in full. 

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