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Poll: NC marriage amend. up, 61-34 percent

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
RALEIGH, N.C. (BP) -- A proposed constitutional amendment in North Carolina that would define marriage as between a man and a woman has the support of more than 60 percent of likely voters, according to a new poll.

Citizens will vote on the issue in May.

The poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows the amendment winning by a margin of 61-34 with support from Republicans, Independents and Democrats. Although Public Policy Polling leans left, its polls on the issue of gay "marriage" are among the most accurate because it uses automated polling, which -- many polling experts believe -- allows respondents to give more honest answers on the controversial topic. PPP was the only polling company in 2009 that correctly predicted Maine citizens would vote to overturn a "gay marriage" law.

In the North Carolina poll, Republicans favor the amendment 80-17 percent, with Independents (52-43 percent) and Democrats (49-44) also supporting it. Significantly, 70 percent of black Democrats -- a key voting bloc -- favor it.

The poll used the exact wording of the amendment and asked 671 likely primary voters, "Would you vote for or against a constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State?" The poll also found that, by a margin of 63-30 percent, voters "think same-sex marriage should be" illegal.

An Elon University poll in September used different wording -- and live callers -- and found the amendment actually failing, 56-39 percent.

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, argued in a 2010 blog that automated polling on the subject is more reliable. He wrote the blog after CNN released a poll showing a slight majority of Americans favoring marriage redefinition.


" more likely to tell their true feelings on an automated poll where there's no social anxiety concern than to a live interviewer who they may be worried about the reaction of," Jensen, who supports gay "marriage," wrote. "It is frankly impossible, based on the results of gay marriage referendums over the last decade, to believe that a majority of Americans support its legalization. Dark blue states like California and Maine voted against it just in the last two years."

North Carolina would become the 30th state to define marriage in the traditional sense in a state constitution.

Traditionalists warn "gay marriage" legalization would have a host of negative effects on religious liberty, impacting what is taught in schools and forcing private businesses and some religiously affiliated public organizations to endorse that to which they are morally opposed.

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Read Baptist Press' feature story on marriage polling, "On 'gay marriage' poll results, be skeptical," at

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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