Likely Voters Support Marriage Amendment
Special Report - October 6, 2011
A new poll of likely North Carolina voters finds strong support across partisan lines for the actual wording of the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment that will come before North Carolinians in the May 2012 primary election. The September 2011 poll of 600 “likely 2012 general election voters,” which was conducted for the John W. Pope Civitas Institute, found that 62 percent of likely North Carolina voters support the proposed amendment, while 31 percent oppose it (seven percent were undecided or said they did not know). Unlike other recent polls, the Civitas poll used the exact wording of the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment that voters will see on their 2012 ballot by asking: “Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that says: Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state?” The 62 percent of survey participants who said they supported the Marriage Protection Amendment included support from 79 percent of Republican voters, 55 percent of unaffiliated voters, and 53 percent of Democrat voters. Additionally, support for the amendment was strong among all age groups, according to Civitas, except among 18 to 25 year-olds (where 69 percent opposed the MPA).
The Civitas poll findings differ significantly from the results of a recent Elon University poll that the media and anti-marriage amendment activists have been promoting to claim that a majority of North Carolinians are opposed to the amendment. However, a closer look at the Elon University poll reveals some key differences, and highlights the importance of how polling questions are presented. First, the September 2011 Elon University poll surveyed 594 North Carolina residents from the general population, not likely voters as in the Civitas poll. Furthermore, the question presented to survey participants in the Elon poll also differed significantly from the Civitas poll. Instead of using the actual wording from the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment, the Elon poll presented the amendment in a negative light, asking: “Would you support or oppose an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would prevent any same-sex marriages?” According to the Elon poll, 56 percent of those surveyed were opposed to the amendment, while 39 percent supported it. The Elon poll also gave survey participants a number of other options that will not appear on the May 2012 ballot for North Carolina voters, such as whether they: support or oppose “any legal recognition for same-sex couples;” support or oppose civil unions or domestic partnerships; and support or oppose “full marriage rights” for same-sex couples.
“While turnout in a May primary election is often difficult to predict, this amendment appears to have broad support,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca in a press release announcing the Civitas poll results. “And while other polling has shown different results, it is important to remember that voters will be voting on the actual wording used in our poll, not from a list of options.”
Marriage Scores on Survey - June 20, 2011
Elon Poll Shows Question Bias - March 2, 2011
Marriage Amendment Support Continues - January 3, 2011
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