While North Carolina residents overwhelmingly support keeping their statutory ban on same-sex marriage, a new poll by Public Polling Policy (PPP) says that a majority would reject a constitutional amendment enshrining the state’s gay marriage ban that also blocks same-sex couples from all legal recognition, an amendment Republican lawmakers are pushing to put on the 2012 ballot.
Of 520 North Carolina voters independently surveyed from September 1st to 4th, 61% of respondents in the state said they want same-sex marriage to remain illegal and only 31% supported overturning the state’s 1996 statutory ban. However, 55% said they would also vote against the Republican constitutional amendment that, based on language proposed by the state senate, would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Only 37% would vote for such an amendment.
There are some familiar trends in the polling data, too. Some 63% of Democrats and 52% of independent voters would reject the amendment. Interestingly, such severe language in the amendment would see 47% of Republican respondents also voting against and only 31% openly saying they would vote for it.
Mirroring earlier polls, among the most opposed to the amendment are African Americans with 61% voting against, and 78% of respondents under the age of 30 saying they would reject the amendment as worded.
However, every single majority over the age of 30 also opposes the amendment, including those over 65, even though 71% of which are against gay marriage. This indicates that while a majority of NC residents do not yet want to grant same-sex marriage, they oppose blocking gay couples from the legal rights of marriage — indeed 54% of those surveyed said they supported legal equality for same-sex couples.
“It’s pretty simple: North Carolinians don’t support gay marriage but they also don’t think this constitutional amendment is necessary,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “And they also think this particular proposal goes too far by targeting civil unions, which many voters in the state support.”
Legislative Republicans remain far less popular than their Democratic counterparts. Only a third see them favorably, and half unfavorably. For Democrats, the spread is 12 points closer, but still negative, 38-43. The generic legislative ballot is virtually tied this month with 46% of voters leaning toward the GOP and 45% to the Democrats.
The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.3%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews. PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.
To read more on the poll, please click here.
The NC Legislature has yet to agree on the final language of the 2012 amendment, but this poll should send a clear message that there is significant opposition to passing an overreaching ban that would prevent gay couples from accessing the legal rights associated with marriage.