WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A new poll finds that 87 percent of Americans approve of marriages between white and black people, in comparison to just 4 percent who supported mixed marriages in 1958.

The Gallup public opinion poll finds that the approval of marriages between blacks and whites is up one percentage point from 2011. But the decades-long shift of American public opinion is one of the largest in the Gallup poll’s history.

The data was collected from Gallup’s Minority Rights and Relations poll, conducted June 13-July 5. The poll surveyed 4,373 Americans, including 1,010 non-Hispanic blacks.

Eleven percent of Americans today say they disapprove of black-white marriage, compared with 94 percent who disapproved in 1958. Blacks’ approval of black-white marriage (96 percent) is now nearly universal, while whites’ approval is 12 percentage points lower, at 84 percent

Even the wording of the poll questions has changed over the decades.

The wording of the question in this year’s poll was, “Do you approve or disapprove of marriage between blacks and whites?” From 1968-78, the question was proposed between “whites and nonwhites,” and in 1958 the wording was between “white and colored people.”

Gallup also found that approval of black-white marriage is higher among younger Americans, and lowest among those 65 and older. Americans living in the South are slightly below average in their approval, while approval is above average among those in the Western U.S.


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