Many Criticize Voting Rights Ruling; Partisan Splits on Gay Marriage Continue

Americans across racial groups are critical of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act, with disapproval of the decision exceeding approval by 15 percentage points among whites as well as by a vast 45-point margin among African-Americans.

Overall, just 33 percent of Americans approve of the ruling dismantling a key element of the voting law, while 51 percent disapprove (leaving 15 percent unsure). Among blacks, disapproval of the ruling soars to 71 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

The high court's rulings on gay marriage last week are more popular, particularly its decision providing married same-sex couples with the same federal benefits as other married couples: Americans approve by 56-41 percent, with sharp partisan and ideological divisions. That's very similar to views in recent ABC/Post polls on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.

It's a closer 51-45 percent division on the second gay marriage case, a procedural decision that let stand a lower court ruling allowing gay marriage in California. Again the result is sharply partisan: Six in 10 Democrats and independents approve; just three in 10 Republicans agree.

The decision on the California case is slightly less popular than the one on federal benefits in a number of groups, including conservatives, who may be less accepting of a court-mandated reversal of a voter-approved gay marriage ban.

Partisan and ideological divisions are quite different when it comes to the Voting Rights Act. This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that Republicans and "very" conservatives divide on this ruling, while Democrats disapprove by a 28-point margin, joined by independents, by 22 points. Notably, along with liberals and moderates, "somewhat" conservatives also disapprove, by 19 points.

Beyond political allegiance and ideology, the gay marriage rulings, for their part, are sharply more popular among adults younger than 40 than among their elders, long a feature of public attitudes on the issue. Seniors remain particularly skeptical of gay marriage. Additionally, men and less-educated Americans are less supportive of both decisions, especially the California ruling, than are women and college-educated adults.

METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone June 26-30, 2013, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.