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Ireland recently became the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage by popular vote, and recent polls say American sentiment may not be far behind. A Gallup poll says 60 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from 55 percent last year and the highest support on the question since Gallup first started asking in 1996.

PrintThe U.S. Supreme Court is heading into its final month and is set to rule on whether same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide. However, in defense of laws banning gay marriage, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee say the decision should be left to the states and their voters.

A new Quinnipiac University poll found that 56 percent of American voters would support a Supreme Court decision to make gay marriage a Constitutional right while only 38 percent would oppose it.

All of these results point to a cultural shift regarding the gay community and same-sex marriage. Regardless of how they feel about gay marriage, most Americans say that they would not vote for or against a political candidate based on their stance on the issue, according to our exclusive Rare Under 40 poll that takes a comprehensive look at the opinions of young people.

When asked, “True of false: Any candidate who opposes gay marriage would not get my vote,” 61 percent of respondents 18-40 years old said “false.” Of respondents 41 and older, 59 percent said false.

But, when asked, “True or false: Any candidate who supports gay marriage would not get my vote,” most respondents also said “false” — 69 percent of those under 40 and 62 percent of those over 40.

Only the majority of young Democrats (51 percent), people with some high school education (62 percent) and respondents under 40 who identified their religion as “other” (53 percent) said they would not vote for a candidate who opposes gay marriage.

And only the majority of young evangelical Christians (62 percent) and people with some high school education (52 percent) said they would not vote for a candidate who supports gay marriage.

More Americans feel comfortable with a presidential candidate who identifies as gay or lesbian than one who identifies as evangelical Christian, according to the latest WSJ/NBC poll. Much like other recent surveys, including the exclusive Rare Under 40 poll, the results show that Americans are becoming more open to the gay community.

Sixty-one percent of Americans said they would be enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate. Only 37 percent said they would have reservations or be uncomfortable.

By comparison, respondents were a little less comfortable with the prospect of a candidate who is an evangelical Christian. Fifty-two percent said they’d be enthusiastic about or comfortable, while 44 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable about the idea.

FINAL Rare_Poll 1 Charts MARRIAGE

Over the next several days, we’ll explore 24 questions in-depth, taking a close look at the difference between age groups while also weighing key demographic differences such as political party, race and education. It’s also an opportunity to revisit the previous Rare Under 40 poll, which found young people hold surprising views on Obama, marijuana, God and more.

This Rare survey was conducted by Gravis Insights between April 27 and May 5. A total of 2,261 registered voters of all ages were interviewed about several issues using landlines, cellphones and Internet panels. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of ±2 percentage points and was weighted by select demographic characteristics.

How would you answer these questions?

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