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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 3 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 31
Marriage equality has lead in new Maryland poll
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Marriage equality has lead in new Maryland poll

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new Hart Research poll released August 2 shows Maryland's marriage equality law with a 14-point lead among likely voters. Like Washington's new marriage law, Maryland's will be up for approval on the November ballot.

Of the 504 likely voters surveyed by Hart, 54% said they would vote to keep the law, while only 40% said they would vote to repeal it.

'This 14-point support margin is a marked improvement over the eight points we measured this past March [51% voting for, 43% voting against],' Hart Research Associates said in a memo accompanying the poll numbers.

'We continue to have the momentum,' said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which commissioned the poll.

'Voters are having conversations on marriage around the dinner table and are agreeing that people should be treated fairly.'

BLACK SUPPORT GROWING
The poll found that support for marriage equality had increased significantly among African Americans, who make up about 30% of Maryland's population. The latest numbers show African-American voters evenly split on the issue - 44% in favor of the new marriage law and 45% opposed. Hart's March poll showed black voters rejecting the law by nine points, 40% to 49%.

'The change is largely due to increased discussion of marriage equality following the endorsement of the issue by President Obama and the NAACP,' Marylanders for Marriage Equality said in a statement.

The new polling also found support for marriage equality increasing among white voters. They now favor the state's marriage law by 13 points - 54% to 41% - while in March they supported it by only 11 points.

Hart also reported that the intensity of pro-equality feeling among voters was increasing, pulling ahead of intense feelings on the other side. Forty-three percent of respondents now say they have 'strong' pro-equality views - up from 39% in March. This compares favorably with the 35% who said they have 'strong' feelings against equal marriage rights.

'We're winning over undecideds and the intensity is clearly on our side,' Levin said. 'Voters are realizing that this law is about treating our Gay friends, family, and neighbors equally under the law, and that no religious institution would be forced to marry anyone they objected to.'

In a separate survey question, Hart asked respondents to rate the importance of the marriage equality referendum.

'It is notable that among the near-majority of Maryland voters who rate the issue as 'extremely' important, 66% would vote for marriage equality and just 33% would vote against,' Hart said in the memo.

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