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Latest Elon poll: Majority of North Carolinians Oppose Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment

Hot off the press…news that should shake things up for the fundies trying to “protect” marriage in NC. The trend is moving in the direction of sanity.

A new Elon University Poll released today shows that a majority of North Carolinians oppose Amendment One, a constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, North Carolina primary ballot that bans relationship recognition and threatens protections for the state’s unmarried couples. (Demographics/Methodology)

The nonpartisan poll revealed that 54.2% of North Carolinians surveyed either oppose or strongly oppose “an amendment to the constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.” Only 37.8% polled were in any way supportive of Amendment One. The poll also illustrates a dramatic increase in the category of “strong opposition” to this type of amendment from only one year ago, with 34% now voicing strong opposition versus 21.8% in February 2011.

Overall opposition to Amendment One increased even further when North Carolinians polled were asked whether they opposed an amendment to the North Carolina constitution “that would prevent civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.” Nearly 57% of North Carolinians (56.9%) polled opposed or strongly opposed an amendment on that basis.

“The Elon University poll is a clear sign that North Carolina is AGAINST Amendment One,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families, the coalition effort to defeat Amendment One. “The more people learn about this poorly-written amendment and its unintended consequences, the more they realize it will harm our children, their families, unmarried women, and seniors.”

The Elon poll did not inquire about Amendment One support or opposition based on unintended harms to all unmarried couples in North Carolina, including a permanent ban on domestic partner benefits for public employees, as well as how it could negatively affect enforcement of domestic violence laws, child custody agreements and end-of-life directives. A recent state panel tasked with explaining Amendment One to voters found that there is significant debate among legal experts about how the amendment might impact various legal protections for public and private employee benefits as well as other harms. The panel ultimately concluded that the state’s court system would need to determine Amendment One’s lasting consequences.

“While the Elon Poll does not touch on the vast array of known and potential harms of this type of overreaching legislation—harms that were a reality in other states—it does mirror the momentum we’ve seen in our work on the ground throughout the state,” said Kennedy. The more North Carolinians know about Amendment One, the more support for it plummets.”

Tempering the good news in these results is analysis by Elon that points to the importance of get out the vote (GOTV) among younger NC residents and the possible impact of the GOPClownCar race extending to May 8. John Robinson, of Elon Poll’s blog, hedges his bets on a prediction:

[I]f the race for the Republican nomination is still on in May — and it could well be — then expect a heavy GOP turnout at the polls. Given that more Republicans support the amendment, their turnout may overpower the more liberal opposition to the amendment. It may well be up to amendment opponents to energize their supporters to actually get to the polls. (I suspect they know that already.)

If the 18-35 year-old voters don’t turn out in sizable numbers — they tend to have weaker turnout than older voters — then that will further weaken the opposition.

Be ready for a full-court press ad campaign from both camps.

The Elon Poll survey North Carolina residents, without making a distinction of whether people say they are likely to vote. While I doubt it skews the results in a measurable way because the opposition is strong, it could.

Yes, the whole problem for those working against the amendment has always been about GOTV. I’ve said that from the beginning; people in NC if educated about the harms are already primed to reject this discrimination. We have the votes to defeat it, but saying you oppose the amendment is very different from getting your butt out of the chair during early no-excuse voting or on May 8.

Case in point: Barack Obama barely carried NC in 2008, and the GOTV here was MASSIVE, well-funded and unyielding up to election day. That’s why getting resources in the door is essential — we shouldn’t have to beg the LGBT and progressive communities — or the Obama administration — to put some skin in the game.

No excuses, North Carolinians: here’s a 1-stop voter info site so you’re ready to vote against Amendment One.

The Harms of Amendment One
* Vote for Marriage NC lauds ‘Values Bus’ for pimping hate – plying kids with candy

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding