Voters More Inclined to View Marriage as a Religious Institution, Poll Finds

The Rasmussen Reports national survey also indicates marriage is highly valued in the U.S.

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TRENTON, N.J. — A new survey shows an increase in likely U.S. voters who see marriage as a religious institution, with a majority now holding this view.

Rasmussen Reports’ Dec. 22 national survey of 1,000 U.S. likely voters found that a majority — 53% of respondents — said marriage is a religious institution. This is an increase from 48% in October. Another 40% saw marriage as a civil institution, down from 45% in October.

About 77% of respondents said they are married or have been at some point in their lives. This correlated to their views of the institution.

About 57% of ever-married respondents said marriage is a religious institution, while the never-married tended to see it as a civil institution.

A large majority of Republicans and a small majority of unaffiliated voters said marriage is a religious institution, while a small majority of Democrats said it is civil in nature. Men and respondents over 40 were more likely to say marriage is religious.

Respondents also gave their views on the relationship between marriage and having children.

About 73% of respondents said it is important or very important to be married before having children. Another 25% said that marriage is not a precondition for parenthood, an increase from 20% in a previous survey.

Ever-married respondents were far more likely to stress the importance of marriage before children than the unmarried, Rasmussen Reports said.

The survey suggests marriage is highly valued in the U.S.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents said marriage is somewhat or very important to society, with 55% ranking it very important.


Opposition to Marriage Redefinition

The survey found that 45% of respondents opposed same-sex “marriage,” while 42% favored it.

In October, the pollster’s survey found voters evenly split on the question, at 44% each. However, the apparent changes are still within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

Views about the nature of marriage appear to correlate to views on same-sex “marriage.” About 71% of those who said marriage is a religious institution oppose same-sex “marriage,” while 75% of those who said it is a civil institution favor marriage redefinition.