Given the polling results, it might appear that the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions will get swatted into the cheap seats to use a basketball analogy during ACC Tournament time.
Not so fast. There are a few reasons that the amendment may win the day. And I’ll outline them in a moment. But first, here is a taste of the national sentiment on this issue.
Same sex marriage legislation is a hot topic around the nation. It is expected to be on the ballot this year in five states. It even has implications in the presidential election.
In California: A Field Poll revealed that 59 percent of California registered voters support same-sex marriage — the highest level of support ever recorded during 35 years of surveying issue in the state.
In Maryland: A new poll commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality shows 52 percent of respondents would “probably” or “definitely” vote for the same-sex marriage bill if it is on the ballot in November. The survey showed that 44 percent would “probably” or “definitely” vote the measure down.
In New Jersey: Most New Jerseyans support gay marriage, but they also believe the issue should be put to a referendum, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
In I0wa: A majority of Iowans oppose passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.
Back in North Carolina, if the race for the Republican nomination is still on in May — and it could well be — then expect a heavy GOP turnout at the polls. Given that more Republicans support the amendment, their turnout may overpower the more liberal opposition to the amendment. It may well be up to amendment opponents to energize their supporters to actually get to the polls. (I suspect they know that already.)
If the 18-35 year-old voters don’t turn out in sizable numbers — they tend to have weaker turnout than older voters — then that will further weaken the opposition.
Be ready for a full-court press ad campaign from both camps.
The Elon Poll survey North Carolina residents, without making a distinction of whether people say they are likely to vote. While I doubt it skews the results in a measurable way because the opposition is strong, it could.
Update: N.C. Policy Watch points out another good reason. The language of that amendment takes the hard line: it would ban all state recognition of same sex couples permanently – whether it’s called “marriage,” “civil union,” or something else.
If this truth is made clear to voters, the amendment will almost certainly fail as voters will quickly view it as too extreme. If, however, voters are allowed to approach the vote as (incorrectly) a simple “up or down” referendum on what they think of same sex “marriage,” it has a strong chance of passage.
— John Robinson