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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 17, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 20x
Arizona shifts toward equality - Statewide poll finds majority support for same-sex marriage
Section One
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Arizona shifts toward equality - Statewide poll finds majority support for same-sex marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A majority of Arizona residents now favor marriage equality, according to a new Rocky Mountain Poll. The survey, taken last month and released May 14, sampled 700 people, including 438 registered voters.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they favor allowing Gay and Lesbian couples to marry. Only 35% said they were opposed.

It is an astonishing turnaround in a deeply 'red' state that overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2008.

The results showed broad support for marriage equality across almost all demographic categories.

MASSIVE LATINO SUPPORT
As in most marriage polls, women favored equality much more so than men, but even among men, a clear majority supports equality. Sixty percent of women said they support marriage rights for same-sex couples, with only 33% opposed. Fifty percent of men agreed, with 37% opposed to equality.

Among Latinos/Latinas, a key voting bloc in Arizona, a whopping 75% support equality, with only 20% opposed. Significantly, polling was done in Spanish as well as English.

Among whites, 54% are pro-equality and 35% opposed. In the catch-all category of 'non-Latino minorities,' most respondents were opposed to same-sex marriage, with 36% backing equality to 58% against.

Respondents under 35 years old were overwhelmingly pro-equality, by a margin of 67% to 26%, but respondents in every age cohort supported marriage equality. Those aged 35-54 supported same-sex marriage by 54% to 39%, and even those 55 and older supported equality by 46% to 40%.

In Pima County, which includes Tucson and the University of Arizona, 65% of respondents backed same-sex marriage, with only 30% opposed. In Maricopa County, which includes Democratic-leaning Phoenix but which is also the home of ultra-right-wing Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 53% said they support marriage equality, while 36% oppose it. Even in the 'rural counties,' 54% support same-sex marriage and only 37% oppose it.

Arizona Democrats support same-sex marriage 70% to 22%, self-identified liberals 67% to 28%, moderates 64% to 25%, and independents by the same 64% to 25% margin.

GOP VIEWS CHANGING
Among Republicans, 37% - more than one-third - now support equality, although 53% still oppose it. Self-described conservatives also tend to oppose same-sex marriage, with 41% in favor and 51% opposed. The poll also asked about decriminalization of marijuana, which got the support of 56% of respondents, compared to only 37% opposed.

'It is perhaps ironic,' the pollsters concluded, 'that as support for same-sex marriage and defelonization of marijuana have long been albatrosses which conservative candidates could hang around the necks of some of their moderate or liberal challengers, it now appears that hard opposition to Gay marriage and perhaps even to marijuana liberalization could become issues moderates and liberals can use against their conservative opponents.'

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