Public Policy Polling has released the results of its first poll of North Carolina voters since Republican state lawmakers approved a referendum for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and the numbers are not good. According to the poll, if the vote were held today, the amendment would pass with 61 percent of the vote and only 34 percent opposing. Even Democrats support the measure (49/44), though at a narrower margin than independents (52/43) and Republicans (80/17). But as PPP points out, the voters likely do not realize the full effect of the amendment:
The interesting thing is that 51% of this same set of voters supports legal recognition for gay couples. 22% favor gay marriage and another 29% civil unions, with only 46% completely opposed to granting same sex couples legal recognition. The problem for those trying to defeat the amendment is that 37% of voters who support gay marriage or civil unions are still planning to vote for it. That suggests a lot of folks aren’t familiar with how wide reaching the proposed amendment would be and it gives those fighting it a chance- they just have to get their message out effectively to the majority of North Carolinians who do support legal recognition for gay couples that the proposal goes too far.
The key is language. This 61/34 result comes from asking about “defining marriage as between a man and a woman.” When PPP polled about prohibiting all forms of union last months, the numbers flip and 55 percent oppose the amendment. The huge difference between these simple language changes suggests how contentious the campaign will be until the vote in May.