Same-Sex Marriage Heads To The Supreme Court With Record Public Support

04/23/2015 02:33 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2015

With the Supreme Court taking up same-sex marriage next week, support for protection of marriage equality is as high as it's ever been with 61 percent of Americans in favor, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll.

The survey also finds specific support for same-sex marriage rights across the states.

Sixty-two percent of Americans say states should have to recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states, while sixty-one percent say states should not be allowed to ban same-sex marriages. Even 45 percent of Republicans said they oppose allowing individual state bans.

Question wording may play a role. The survey asked respondents to interpret something of a mouthful: whether they "support or oppose allowing individual states to prohibit same-sex marriages."

As The Washington Post noted, other polls, phrasing the options a little differently, have found considerably more support for giving states the option to make their own decisions on same-sex marriage, with Republicans especially amenable to supporting states' discretion over a national ruling.

A recent CBS News poll found that while 60 percent of Americans thought same-sex marriage should be legal, 56 percent, including more than three-quarters of Republicans, believed the decision should be left up to individual states. A McClatchy/Marist survey last year found that while half of Americans thought federal law should decide the legality of same-sex marriage, just 36 percent of Republicans agreed.

And in an AP-GfK survey earlier this year, Americans were evenly split on whether the Supreme Court should rule that same-sex marriage must be legal nationwide.

Regardless of Americans' exact feelings on the more abstract legal questions surrounding the marriage debate, polls make it clear that same-sex marriage supporters increasingly have public opinion -- and demographics -- on their side. They also have an advantage in intensity: In the Post/ABC poll, 40 percent of Americans strongly support gay marriage, while just a quarter strongly oppose it.

The Post/ABC poll surveyed 1,016 adults from April 16 to April 20, using live interviewers to reach both landlines and cell phones.

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