Hopeful signs for gay marriage activists at the ballot box

Where the four battles over gay marriage stand, going into Election Day [UPDATED]

Topics: 2012 Elections, Maine, Washington, Minnesota, National Organization for Marriage, Gay Marriage, , ,

On Tuesday, voters in four states have the chance to give gay marriage supporters their first definitive victory at the ballot box.

Maryland, Washington and Maine will ask voters to decide whether to legalize gay marriage in their states. In Minnesota, the question is whether to implement a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. So far, marriage equality advocates have had no success getting voters to support them at the ballot box. There are some hopeful signs with the latest batch of polls on each measure, but unfortunately for pro-gay marriage groups, the polls have had a tendency to overestimate support for gay marriage leading up to the vote, usually by about 7 points. As the New York Times explained, “Some experts caution that they may be misleading anyway as voters may be hesitant to voice their opposition to the rights of others, with the vote against legalization often undercounted in polls.”

Regardless, here’s how things are looking in each state going into Election Day:

  • Maryland: Maryland’s polling is pretty much deadlocked. According to a recent Baltimore Sun poll, 46 percent of likely voters said they would vote to make same-sex marriage legal in November, while 47 percent said they would vote against it. A poll from a month earlier had support for gay marriage leading by a 10-point margin, at 49-39 percent. The shift is most likely the result of black voters who initially supported it or were undecided, but flipped their vote. Separately, a Washington Post poll from a few weeks ago also showed support for the measure, 52-43 percent.

You Might Also Like

  • Maine: The latest polling from Maine shows strong support for legalizing gay marriage. One survey from over the weekend by Critical Insights, an in-state polling outfit, shows support for the referendum leading 55-42 percent, though opposition has increased by 7 points since the last poll in June. A final poll from PPP, which leans Democratic, also finds support for the referendum leading by a margin of 52-45.
  • Washington: The outlook appears favorable for gay marriage in Washington. One recent University of Washington poll shows 57.9 percent of voters supporting the measure, with 36.9 percent opposed. PPP’s poll had a narrower gap with supporters ahead 52-42.
  • Minnesota: Minnesota is the only state where voters will decide whether or not to implement a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The polls are a bit mixed, though in recent weeks supporters of gay marriage have made gains. SurveyUSA‘s weekly tracking poll of the amendment showed that more people oppose the ban than support it for the first time this week, though by the small margin of  48-47 percent. Last week’s poll showed the reverse, and in weeks prior there was a much larger margin of voters who were in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage.  The Dem-leaning PPP put out a poll this weekend with much more optimistic results for gay marriage backers, with 52 percent of voters saying they’ll oppose the ban, and 45 percent saying they’ll support it.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>