A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters show most still don’t believe the federal government should be setting marriage policy.

Nearly half (48 percent ) now favor gay marriage, up from a previous high of 45 percent in regular tracking since last October. Forty-one percent said they oppose. oppose Consistent with this month’s increased support for gay marriage, however, slightly more voters (37 percent) think the laws governing marriage should be established by the federal government. Thirty-six percent (36 percent) think those laws should be a state responsibility, while 11 percent say they should be decided on the local level. Sixteen percent (16 percent) are not sure.

Forty-nine percent (49 percent ) of voters continue to view marriage more as a religious institution than a civil one, while 44 percent view it primarily as a civil institution. This shows little change from earlier surveys. Sixty-three percent of those who view marriage as a religious institution oppose gay marriage, while 74 percent who see it as a civil one favor it.

Why is marriage important? In part because 76 percent of voters agree it’s at least somewhat important for someone to be married before they have children, including 43 percent who say it’s very important. Twenty-three percent don’t think marriage is important before children, with nine percent think it’s not at all important.