The vast majority of the public have said the Government should be focusing on the economy and public-service reforms instead of bulldozing ahead with plans for same-sex marriage.
An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph showed that 78 per cent oppose proposals to fast-track new homosexual marriage laws ahead of 2015, with just 14 per cent in favour.
The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of Tory voters “oppose same-sex marriage in principle”, with only 35 per cent backing the move.
The Sunday Telegraph believed the poll results showed Prime Minister David Cameron “faces an uphill battle to persuade his own party of the merits of the policy”.
Its editorial said: “Nearly 80 per cent of all voters do not think abolishing the legal distinctions between gay relationships and marriage as traditionally conceived should be a priority during this Parliament.
“That figure rises to almost 90 per cent when Tory voters are polled.
“Why, then, is Mr Cameron so intent on going against the wishes of the people who elected him?”
The editorial also warned that pushing ahead “may cost him more dearly than he thinks”.
The Westminster Government is expected to launch a public consultation on redefining marriage later this month. Its aim is to allow a change in the law to be made before the end of the current Parliament in May 2015.
A new grassroots campaign group seeking to protect the traditional definition of marriage was set up last month.
Since its launch on 20 February, Coalition for Marriage has gathered more than 140,000 signatures on its online petition. Sign it here: www.c4m.org.uk