A new poll shows that 55 percent of Mainers support legalizing same-sex marriage, and what is even more exciting, marriage equality has a 19 point lead.
The WBUR poll released Monday took a sample of 506 likely voters and showed that 55% of that sample supported legalizing marriage at the ballot box, 36% oppose it and 9% don’t know or refused to answer the question.
The demographic breakdown showed that a majority of Democrats and independents favor the measure, while Republicans continue to oppose it.
The poll was conducted June 13-14, 2012 through live telephone interviews via both land line and cell phone using conventional registration based sampling procedures. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.4% with a 95% level of confidence. The poll is sponsored by Boston area’s public radio station WBUR.
Interestingly, the question asked in this poll was the following:
“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?”
However, the Maine Secretary of State’s office released the proposed ballot question last week, and it appears without the religious exemptions caveat:
“Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
The caveat is not actually needed as the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples is in fact protected under established First Amendment rights. That said, this kind of language has been shown to allay fears of an erosion of religious rights among Democratic voters, independents and even some moderate Republicans.
As such, not all marriage equality groups were happy with the short form question, though others have pointed out that at the very least it is clear and concise.
The publication of the ballot question does not make the wording final, and in fact marks a 30-day consultation period where changes can be offered by concerned groups and the general public.