, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1-14,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Nov 2011

The “Persuadable Middle” on Same-Sex Marriage: Formative Research to Build Support among Heterosexual College Students


Same-sex marriage is a controversial policy issue that affects the welfare of gay and lesbian couples throughout the USA. Considerable research examines opinions about same-sex marriage; however, studies have not investigated the covariates of the “persuadable middle”—those individuals who are neutral or unsure about their views. This group of people is often the target of same-sex marriage campaigns, yet they have received no empirical attention. Using a sample of heterosexual college students, we conduct multinomial logistic regression to identify the factors associated with being neutral about same-sex marriage. Findings suggest that in comparison with those who endorse or oppose same-sex marriage, political ideology and views about the acceptability of same-sex relationships are influential in determining the “persuadable middle.” Within each category other factors are identified. We discuss the implications for policy advocacy efforts to advance marriage equality.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13178-012-0090-5.