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Poll suggests Maine voters likely to approve same-sex marriage this fall

Thursday, March 8, 2012
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A new poll suggests that Maine voters are likely to reverse their 2009 decision and legalize same-sex marriage when the issue is once again considered at the ballot box later this year.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), 54 percent of voters that same-sex marriage should be legal, while only 41 percent think it should be illegal.

But when PPP asked about the issue using the exact language voters will see on the ballot this fall, they say they’re inclined to support the referendum by a 47-32 margin, indicating some confusion on the part of voters.

“Only 67 percent of those who support gay marriage in general say they’ll vote yes while 12 percent say they’ll not and 21 percent are not sure. At the same time just 60 percent of those who oppose gay marriage generally say they’ll vote against the proposed referendum, while 24 percent say they’ll vote for it and 16 percent are not sure.”

“My guess is at the end of the day voters will see this as a straight referendum on gay marriage regardless of what the language on the ballot says — and the 54/41 number bodes well for pro-equality voters,” writes Tom Jensen for PPP.

The poll indicates that Democrats’ support for same-sex marriage has increased slightly, from 71 percent to 78 percent, and that Independents have shifted from voting against marriage equality 52-46 percent, to supporting it by a 57-36 margin.

Maine’s legislature passed a marriage equality law in 2009 to give same-sex couples the right to marry, but in a state-wide ballot referendum that echoed California’s Proposition 8, nearly 53 percent of Maine citizens voted against same-sex marriage, reversing the legislative decision before the law took effect.

Advocates have since gathered the required number of verified signatures to put the issue of back on the November 2012 ballot — if approved by voters, Maine could become the first state to approve same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

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