With the stage firmly set for a 2012 referendum on whether to enact a constitutional amendment codifying Minnesota’s existing statutory ban on same-sex marriage, a new poll reveals that Minnesotans are almost evenly split on whether to enact the ban, though respondents do report favoring legal rights for same-sex couples.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 46% of people favor the amendment while 47% are opposed and 7% are undecided. Similarly, 45% of people said that gay marriage should be illegal while 46% said it should be legal, and 9% remain undecided.
However, 72% of respondents say that they favor legal recognition for gay couples, with 38% of those favoring marriage and 34% favoring civil unions. Only 26% said their should be no recognition at all, while 2% said they didn’t know.
“Voters in the state are about as evenly divided as they could be on gay marriage,” Tom Jensen said in a post announcing the poll’s results. “As usual the generational divide on the issue is staggering — seniors support a ban by a 57/34 margin while every other age group opposes it.”
“There aren’t a lot of policy issues I would say this about but public opinion on gay marriage is shifting so quickly that it wouldn’t surprise me if opposition to this amendment grows by 5 or 6 points in the 17 months between now and next November’s election.”
A SurveyUSA poll released earlier in the week and commissioned by the Minneapolis-St. Paul ABC affiliate KSTP found 51 percent of respondents in favor of the amendment, 40 percent opposed, and 8 percent uncertain.
“This is a significant change from our last poll in March when 62% favored the amendment banning gay marriage and 33% were opposed,” the polling group said in announcing its findings.
Supporters of the amendment have said that polls are being rigged to favor same-sex marriage. They have yet to offer proof for this accusation.