Two fifths of the population think male same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children, largely because it is not in the best interests of the child.
More than a third of people said that children should not be placed for adoption with female same-sex couples, according to the figures from adoption charity Action for Children.
The figures came as a surprise to the charity, which supports same-sex adoption.
A large proportion also opposed lone parent adoption – 43 per cent in the case of single men, and 30 per cent in the case of single women.
The new figures follow another poll released earlier this month by The Observer which showed that more than half the population were opposed to gay adoption.
Same-sex and unmarried couples were first allowed to adopt children in 2002. Under the sexual orientation regulations, it is now unlawful for an adoption agency to refuse to consider adoption applications from homosexual couples.
Susan Cotton, Adoption Manager at Action for Children, said: “Families in the 21st century come in all shapes and sizes. We have successfully placed children with both gay couples and single people.”
She argued: “It is the child that matters not the relationship status of potential parents.”
However, others say that the relationship status of parents is key. Children have been shown to do best in married families, and to suffer when they are deprived of that stability or of a male or female role model.
Earlier this year, Iain Duncan Smith warned that boys whose fathers are absent are turning to gang leaders and drug dealers for role models to replace them.
He also said that girls who have never known the empathetic, unconditional love of a father are left vulnerable to early, unprotected and often regretted sex.
In her book Children as trophies? family policy expert Patricia Morgan cites statistics pointing to the instability of homosexual partnerships.
She cites one large study that found the average length of a regular homosexual relationship to be 21 months, with the majority having an average of seven other casual partners each year.
She writes that “children living with homosexuals – particularly male homosexuals – are more likely to face high prospects of repeated family disruption, or multiple family transitions and exposure to high stranger levels in the home, compared to those living with heterosexuals”.
More than 80 per cent of those who opposed single parent and same-sex adoption said this was because they felt that children need both a male and female role model.
Over three quarters (76 per cent) felt it would lead to the breakdown of the traditional family and would not be in the best interests of the child.