May 21, 2014 9:44 AM EDT

Americans’ support for legal recognition of same-sex marriages has reached an all-time high, according to a new poll, amid a string of victories for gay rights activists in Pennsylvania, Oregon and other states.

The Gallup poll released Wednesday found that 55% support laws recognizing same-sex marriage, up from 27% in 1996. Nearly eight out of 10 people ages 18-29 support gay marriage. Just 30 percent of Republicans support it.

A federal judge ruled Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional Tuesday, and on Monday, Oregon became the 18th state to recognize same-sex marriage. In Idaho and Arkansas, recent court rulings have overturned gay marriage bans, only to be put on hold.

The judge who overturned the Pennsylvania ban wrote in his decision that “we are better people than what these laws represent, and it’s time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” CNN reports.

Major legal battles are likely to play out in the South in the coming years, where support for gay marriage is at 44 percent, lower than the rest of the country.

The survey of 1,028 adults, conducted May 8-11, had a margin of error of five percentage points.

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