A new poll shows that a majority of voters support marriage equality in Rhode Island, where advocates are expected to bring their campaign to the legislature next year.
WPRI-TV surveyed 501 likely voters and found that 56% support marriage equality, with 36% opposed. That 20-point lead represents an 11-point jump from last February, when a Public Policy Polling survey found marriage equality in the lead by nine points, at 50% to 41%.
"This poll affirms the growing momentum we've seen in Rhode Island for marriage equality over the last two years and sends a clear signal that a majority of voters believe all families should be recognized, respected and treated equally under the law," said Marriage Equality Rhode Island campaign director Ray Sullivan in a statement.
Same-sex couples in Rhode Island may enter into civil unions as a result of a compromise passed in 2011. The civil unions, which allow for extensive religious exemptions, have been unpopular, and advocates are gearing up to pass marriage equality legislation next year. Rhode Island recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
"Every day more Rhode Islanders are raising a voice in support of marriage equality and this poll should serve as a wakeup call to those politicians who continue to oppose equal rights," continued Sullivan. "We look forward to working with legislators from both sides of the aisle when the General Assembly returns in January to finally make Rhode Island a state that honors the commitments and values the worth of all families."
The new poll reflects many of the trends observed in polling from other states and around the country. Democrats overwhelmingly favor marriage equality and independents support it, while Republicans overall oppose it. The issue is more favored by women and young people than men and people over age 60.
Both sides also feel strongly about their opinions, according to the new poll. Among the 56% who support marriage equality, some 34% "strongly favor" it. Among the 36% opposed, some 23% "strongly oppose" marriage equality.