Monday, August 20, 2012

Maryland: Poll Shows Support for Marriage Equality

Another poll confirms that support for marriage equality in Maryland is becoming a majority position, which is good news for supporters of equality as a referendum on the state's marriage equality law looms on the November 2012 ballot. A key result in the latest poll from Hart Research Associates indicates that African-Americans are split almost evenly about marriage equality.

In the above figure I have indicated the last four public polls about marriage equality in Maryland. 3 of the 4 have shown greater support for marriage equality than opposition. The latest poll, which was releases in early August, shows 54% support the marriage equality law as opposed to 40% who do not. This is good news, but since the margin of error is ±4.5 percentage points this indicates that there may not (yet) be a majority for marriage equality in Maryland.

Advocates such as myself for marriage equality are nervous about polls which indicate support for marriage equality prior to public (secret ballot) votes on the issue, because the public has repeatedly rejected the right when they had the chance. However, there are good indications that 2012 will produce more favorable results than we have previously had in 2008 (Proposition 8 in California) and 2009 (Question 1 in Maine). Critics of the latest poll results in Maryland point out that Hart is Governor Martin O'Malley's polling firm and is not an unbiased observer of the referendum fight since O'Malley has expended so much of his political capital in promoting nd enacting marriage equality in his state.

Only time will tell which side is correct about the true level of support for marriage equality at the ballot box and among the Maryland electorate.

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