ST. PAUL, Minn. (BP) — A majority of North Carolina voters and a plurality of Minnesota voters favor amending their state constitutions to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, according to two new polls previewing upcoming ballot initiatives.
If both amendments pass, the states would become the 30th and 31st ones to define marriage in the traditional sense within a constitution.
North Carolinians will have their say during a May 8 primary. The poll by Public Policy Polling shows that 56 percent of registered voters favor the amendment, while 34 percent are opposed.
In Minnesota, a poll by Public Policy Poll (PPP) shows that state’s proposed amendment ahead, 48-44 percent. That amendment will be on the November ballot.
The PPP polls often are the most accurate ones when gauging voter sentiment on marriage amendments. There are two primary reasons. First, PPP polls are automated, which allows participants not to feel pressured to give an answer that — in many states — is not politically correct. Second, PPP polls use wording that resembles the actual ballot language.
For example, the North Carolina poll asked, “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.” Polls that use phrases such as “ban gay marriage” tend to show lower support for amendments, and also tend not to reflect the actual vote at the ballot.
PPP’s Minnesota poll asked, “Should the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”
PPP’s poll was the only one that correctly predicted in 2009 that Maine voters would repeal a gay “marriage” law.
Traditional groups warn that legalizing gay “marriage” will harm religious freedom, and they point to a series of recent legal cases, including ones in which Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts and Illinois chose to stop doing business with the state instead of being forced to place children in same-sex homes. Massachusetts had legalized gay “marriage,” Illinois civil unions. Traditionalists also warn that redefining marriage could impact what is taught in public schools and could affect the tax exempt status of religious organizations.
The Minnesota poll was conducted Jan. 21-22 among 1,236 voters. The North Carolina poll was done Jan. 5-8 among 780 voters.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.