More than half of grassroots Conservatives are against gay marriage, according to new research.
The YouGov poll showed that 59 per cent of ordinary Tory party members are against the Government’s proposals.
Just 14 per cent of those asked said they strongly support legislation allowing for gay marriage.
The survey of 852 grassroots Conservatives also revealed discontent with those in charge of the party.
More than half (53 per cent) said they felt they are not respected by the Tory leadership.
Almost one in five (19 per cent) said they are seriously considering voting for UKIP which is the only main party against same-sex marriage.
James Landale, deputy political editor for the BBC, said the opposition to gay marriage found in the poll is “whopping”.
And he said of the whole survey, “the bottom line is that the poll suggests there is still a large gap between David Cameron and his party grassroots”.
The poll was commissioned by two University professors and co-funded by a charitable trust.
The issue of same-sex marriage has proved divisive amongst Tory party members on the ground.
A group of senior local Conservatives wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to drop the controversial plans.