Good Numbers in Maine on Marriage Equality

Posted by Chris Geidner
March 7, 2012 11:47 PM |

New polling numbers from Public Policy Polling today look good for marriage equality supporters:

It looks like Maine voters will reverse their 2009 decision and legalize gay marriage in the state this fall. 54% think that gay marriage should be legal to only 41% who think it should be illegal. And when we asked about the issue using the exact language voters will see on the ballot this fall, they say they're inclined to support the referendum by a 47-32 margin.

There's some indication that the exact ballot language is confusing people a little at this point. Only 67% of those who support gay marriage in general say they'll vote yes while 12% say they'll not and 21% are not sure. At the same time just 60% of those who oppose gay marriage generally say they'll vote against the proposed referendum, while 24% say they'll vote for it and 16% are not sure. My guess is at the end of the day voters will see this as a straight referendum on gay marriage regardless of what the language on the ballot says- and the 54/41 number bodes well for pro-equality voters.

Republicans' opinions are pretty much the same as they were in 2009. But Democrats' support for gay marriage has increased slightly, from 71% to 78%. And more importantly independents have gone from voting against gay marriage 52/46 three years ago to now supporting it by a 57/36 margin.

The Maine secretary of state on Feb. 23 certified the Maine marriage equality supporters had gathered enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would "allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses."

Public Policy Polling, which discusses confusing ballot language regarding religious freedom, also confused its use of language in its summary above, as Mainers are not going to be voting on a referendum this fall to overturn legislation passed by state lawmakers -- as they did in 2009 -- but instead will be voting on an affirmative initiative to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Here are the two questions asked:

Q7    Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?
Yes.................................................................. 47%
No .................................................................. 32%
Not sure .......................................................... 21%

Q8    In general, do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?
Legal ............................................................... 54%
Illegal .............................................................. 41%
Not sure............................................................. 5%


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