Media Effects: Same Sex Marriage

A poll released today from Ipsos MediaCT TV Dailies Study indicates how television has worked to influence public opinion on same sex marriage. Below is the text from the Ipsos media release: Los Angeles, CA - National polls have shown that a majority of Americans are now in favor of same-sex marriage, a shift from just a few years ago. So why the change? A recent survey conducted by Ipsos MediaCT shows that 18% of television viewers aged 13-64 say that TV in general has changed their opinion of same-sex marriage in a positive way. In contrast, just 10% say TV impacted their opinion negatively. A little under half (44%) say they are in favor of same-sex marriage and TV has not changed their opinion, while 28% have not changed their opposition.

“Based on this data, I think we can conclude that TV has, at least in part, moved the needle of public opinion to see same-sex marriage in a positive way,” says Ben Spergel, Senior Vice President and Head of TV Insights at Ipsos MediaCT. “With everything from higher profile portrayals of gay characters, to celebrity support of gay marriage, to last year’s groundbreaking endorsement by President Obama, we are seeing a shift in our culture that is being influenced by popular culture.”

Besides entertainment programming featuring positive portrayals of same-sex couples, the historic Supreme Court hearings on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were a featured story on just about every news channel. Nearly half (47%) of TV viewers surveyed feel that TV coverage has been generally well balanced between proponents and opponents of gay marriage, while a third (33%) feel it is skewed towards the proponents. Three-in-ten (30%) respondents say that they watched some news coverage of the Supreme Court hearings.

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted from Monday, April 1 – Sunday, April 7, 2013 using Ipsos MediaCT’s TV Dailies survey among a nationwide sample of 1,096 persons aged 13-64 who watch primetime TV at least two nights a week.

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