Tag Archives: Same-sex marriage

Marriage amendment polling results are similar

Some news articles imply that the Elon University Poll results on the “marriage amendment” differ from the PPP poll results.

Not true.

Both polls report results that indicate a majority of North Carolinians believe same-sex couples and/or civil unions deserve legal recognition.

The difference is that the Elon University Poll surveys North Carolina residents, not likely voters. PPP does surveys likely voters. When PPP asked how they will vote on the amendment – and used the specific ballot wording – most respondents said they support the amendment. When they are asked generally about same-sex marriage or civil unions, they support those, too.

The ballot wording — in which the only relationship mentioned is marriage between a man and a woman — is confusing to likely voters.

The Elon Poll asked specifically about the issue of same-sex couples, but did not use the ballot wording. We weren’t trying to find out whether the issue would pass. We were surveying residents to determine what their opinions on the issue were. 

— John Robinson

Wednesday’s trending topics

The young adult vote — Harvard University surveyed 18-29 year-olds and 43% said they plan to vote for President Obama and 26% said they will vote for Mitt Romney. This is not the same but in February, the Elon University Poll showed that in the 18-34 age group, 48 percent of North Carolinians approve of how Obama is handling the presidency and 38 percent disapprove.

Past, present and possibly future first ladiesMichelle Obama and Ann Romney outscore their husbands in personal popularity in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while Hillary Clinton, for her part, has hit a new high in favorability data stretching back to her entry on the national stage 20 years ago.

Marriage Amendment — Opinions of likely voters are shifting on the same-sex marriage ban amendment to the N.C. Constitution. PPP reports that 54% of likely voters say they support the amendment, which is down from its earlier polls. The Elon Poll earlier this month showed that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment. The Elon poll surveys North Carolina residents, not just likely voters.

— John Robinson

The marriage amendment on the front pages

The marriage amendment got a great deal of ink on the state’s front pages this morning.

Charlotte and Greensboro wrote about how churches are dealing with the issue.

Burlington and Hickory have primers on what the amendment means, along with its political background.

Reminder: The latest Elon University Poll results on the issue.

— John Robinson

North Carolina marriage amendment update

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, it appears that the hottest issue to be decided in the North Carolina primary next month is the marriage amendment. Elected boards are taking positions, rallies are being held, yard signs are popping up, and leaders are stating opposition or support.

The latest Elon University Poll results show that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment that would prevent any same sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions. The poll is of North Carolina residents, not likely voters. Other polls of likely voters indicate more support for the amendment itself.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, explains how the nation’s opinion of same-sex marriage has shifted in the past few years. Majorities of the millennial generation, who were a very small share of the electorate in 2004 when the gay marriage issue rallied the conservative base, have grown in number and have consistently favored. But also, many older Americans have changed their minds. Since 2004, support for gay marriage has increased from 30 percent to 40 percent among baby boomers, and even among seniors (from 18 percent to 32 percent). (On balance, though, most members of this generation remain opposed, at 56 percent.)

The biggest question may well be which side will show up on May 8. The lack of competitive GOP presidential or gubernatorial contests will dampen conservative turnout. On the Democratic side, the presidential ticket is decided, of course, but the gubernatorial nominee isn’t. But that race hasn’t generated much excitement yet. 

Opposition to the amendment is visible on the streets and in letters to the editor columns. Support seems to be centered in churches, but has been much quieter.

— John Robinson

Same-sex marriage, state by state

As the debate over North Carolina’s marriage amendment heats up, here — thanks to the Los Angeles Times — is an interactive map that provides a  little perspective on where every state in the nation is on the same-sex marriage issue.

— John Robinson

The latest news on the marriage amendment

Less than a month before the May 8 primary and a vote on the “marriage amendment” and things are heating up. (A reminder: The Elon University Poll results show that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose the amendment that would prevent any same sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions.)

The Gaston County Board of Commissioners is expected to endorse the amendment this month.

Supporters rallied in Wilson last week.

Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat, wrote an op-ed in The Fayetteville Observer, yesterday against the amendment. The sad genesis of this amendment – only the second ever proposed to eliminate minority rights rather than expand them – was, quite simply, fear.

North Carolina colleges and universities are trying to figure out how to approach the issue. A referendum on the North Carolina ballot next month to ban gay marriages and civil unions has created an awkward position for colleges that condemn discrimination but can’t take public stances on political issues. Ten student senates have renounced the measure, as has the Faculty Senate at public Western Carolina University.

Nationally, supporters of same-sex marriage are squabbling over the focus – or lack of focus – in North Carolina. The polling in North Carolina shows that while a majority supports Amendment One, an overwhelming majority doesn’t support it when you tell them what it does. There are a lot of reasons why progressives and pro-equality voters will be going to vote on May 8. If you just look at North Carolina and think, ‘Oh it’s too southern,’ [well], North Carolina went blue for Barrack Obama in 2008. North Carolina is the only state without a constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage.] North Carolina is one of the only states in the south to have protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The thought that they’ll lose, it’s not quite right. There’s a big window of opportunity.

The Washington Post gives same-sex marriage a Western World tint, comparing and contrasting President Obama’s and Prime Minister David Cameron’s advocacy.

— John Robinson

Most North Carolinians oppose Amendment One

Slightly more than a month before North Carolinians vote on a same-sex marriage ban, it is clear that most residents think that gay couples should be accorded some sort of legal recognition. And that position is gaining ground.

The Elon University Poll results released today show that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment that would prevent any same sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions.

On the May ballot is a constitutional amendment that reads, ““Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

In fact, support for full marriage rights for same sex couples (38%) or support for civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples (29%) among the state’s residents continues to increase over the four cycles since September 2011 that we have asked the question. Opposition to any legal recognition for same-sex couples continues to decrease and is now at 29%.

The results confirm a recent Politico article that suggests this isn’t the best issue for Republicans these days.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference….

But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.

In North Carolina, conservatives have not shown uniform support for the amendment. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected the amendment to pass…and then be repealed within 20 years. Richard Vinroot, former Republican candidate for governor, said he opposed the amendment. John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation,  called the amendment “unwise and unfair.”

It is worth noting, however, that the Elon University Poll is not a poll of North Carolina residents, not of likely voters.

— John Robinson

Confusion over the marriage amendment

Is there any doubt that many North Carolinians don’t understand the marrigage amendment that is on the May primary ballot? Craig Jarvis at the News & Observer wrote an article Friday about the confusion — confusion we’ve mentioned often

Everything from what it’s called to what it would do has been disputed. Poll results released Thursday show solid support for the referendum – until the pollsters explained to the potential voters what it proposes.

It bans gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships.

In fact, our February poll results clearly show that North Carolinians believe the state should recognize same-sex couples either in marriage or in civil unions. But a PPP poll says likely voters support the amendment. (I address the differences in the two polls here.)  
It is a politically risky move by the Republican legislature and cuts against the trend in other states. A recent article in Politico describes how the GOP nationally is trying to distance itself from such bans.
What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the
subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.

Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.

We release new poll results on the amendment Monday.

— John Robinson

Which state has the most religious residents?

Gallup reports that Mississippi is the most religious state in the union with 59% of its residents classified as “very religious.”

Gallup classifies 40% of Americans nationwide as very religious — based on their statement that religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32% of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28% of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion is important but that they do not attend services regularly or because they say religion is not important but still attend services.

Fifty percent of North Carolinians are classified as very religious, making it the eighth most religious state. Twenty-one percent are said to be nonreligious.

What does it mean? Gallup suggests that the most religious states are also the most Republican. And the polling firm says that states with more “moderately religious” residents will be presidential battlegrounds. That doesn’t apply particularly well to North Carolina, which voted for President Obama in 2008 and is shaping up to be a key swing state. 

The 50% “very religious” figure may help explain the intense feelings residents have on the same-sex marriage ban amendment. (Religious people interpret the Biblical references to marriage and homosexuality in different ways.)

By the way, the state with the most nonreligious residents? Vermont.

— John Robinson

Why are there different results on same-sex marriage ban amendment?

Isn’t interesting that when likely voters are read the amendment about same-sex marriage that will be on the North Carolina ballot they voice one opinion. Yet, when North Carolinians are asked specifically about same-sex marriage, they respond another way.

What gives?

WRAL reported that a SurveyUSA poll asked this question:  North Carolina voters will vote on a constitutional amendment that says, quote, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” If you were filling out your ballot today, would you vote for? Or against? This amendment?

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for the amendment, and 36% said they would oppose it.

Meanwhile, Elon University Poll asked residents: Would you (support or oppose) an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would prevent any same-sex marriages? 54% said they would oppose it ; 38% said they would support it.

One difference between the two polls is that SurveyUSA polled likely voters; Elon polled residents. (Elon purposely does not break out likely voters. We believe that the opinions of all North Carolinians should be heard when public policy discussions are held.)

Another difference is that the Elon University Poll first asked people to say which of three statements comes closest to their positions on the same-sex marriage issue.

1. I oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples. (33%)

2. I support civil unions or partnerships for same sex couples, but not full marriage rights. (28%)

3. I support full marriage rights for same sex couples. (39%)

Is the amendment on the ballot confusing because it doesn’t mention what would be excluded as a result of a “yes” vote? Or is there that much of a difference of opinion between residents and “likely voters”?

Either way proponents have an educational campaign ahead of them.

— John Robinson