Maine to be First State to Legalize Gay Marriage at the Ballot?
New data from Public Policy Polling suggests that Maine may be on course for legalizing same-sex marriage at the November ballot.
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.
Of course, there are some caveats to this. We know that there is a certain disparity between how voters say they will vote and the actual votes they cast at the ballot. However the margin of support versus opposition is quite wide here and so this may absorb some of that disparity. The research did suggest there might be some confusion relating to the ballot question however:
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.
Republican opinion with a majority against same-sex marriage has remained steady since 2009 but the poll found that Democratic support has increased from 71% to 78%, while independents have gone from voting against gay marriage 52/46 three years ago to now supporting it by a 57/36 margin.
“It looks like Maine will reverse its 2009 vote on gay marriage this fall,” DeanDebnam, President of Public Policy Polling is quoted as saying in the report. “That’s symbolic of the shift in publicopinion that’s occurred on this issue over the last few years.”
This polling data is consistent with previous findings showing that support hovers around the 53% mark, the same margin that rejected same-sex marriage in 2009.
Advocacy groups recently were told they had submitted 85, 216 verified signatures, far exceeding the 57,272 that was required to put the issue on the ballot.
If Maine was to legalize same-sex marriage in this manner it would be the first state in the U.S. to do so.
According to the American Independent, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has already pledged $32,000 to try to defeat the marriage equality effort.