By Paul Kurtz

(CBS) — For the first time, a majority of New Jersey voters is in favor gay marriage.

READ MORE: Teenager Killed In Trenton Shooting Identified As Shemiah Davis, Mercer County Prosecutor's Office Says

In the latest survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 52 percent of voters support gay marriage; 42 percent are against.

Quinnipiac’s Mickey Carroll says the numbers represent a sharp departure from the previous poll:

“It’s the first time in Quinnipiac measures that gay marriage in New Jersey has passed the 50-percent mark, and it’s a reversal. The last time we did it, in November, New Jerseyans were narrowly against it, 49-46.”

READ MORE: Runners Train At Art Museum For Philadelphia's Upcoming Marathon

Still, there are divisions, and Carroll says they run along religious and racial lines.

“Protestants, narrowly against, 51-44.  Catholics for it, 50-45. White voters, 55 to 39 in favor. Black voters, 51-45 against.”

White voters apparently see it as a civil rights issue while black voters see it as a moral issue, Carroll thinks.

MORE NEWS: Triple Shooting In Fairhill Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Hospitalized, Philadelphia Police Say

Democrats in the New Jersey legislature have made same-sex marriage their opening issue this session.