Minnesotans are split down the middle on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. The poll finds 48 percent support for the amendment and 47 percent opposition. A majority vote is required for passage, suggesting amendment supporters may need to convince some of the 5 percent of likely voters who declared themselves “Not sure.”
The PPP poll comes on the heels of a Survey USA-KSTP poll earlier this week, which found the marriage amendment above the required threshold, with just more than 50 percent supporting passage, 43 percent opposed, and the rest undecided.
Men and women represent a dramatic split on the amendment question: Among male respondents, 55 percent support passing the amendment and 41 percent oppose. The numbers are nearly reversed for women, 52 percent of whom plan to vote against the amendment, versus 41 percent who intend to vote in favor.
Older voters constitute the bulk of the pro-amendment crowd in the new PPP findings. The only age group with a majority of support for the gay marriage ban is the 65-and-over set, where 53 percent favor the amendment and 40 percent do not. The findings slant the other direction among younger respondents. Half of likely voters are against the amendment in the 18-29 and 30-45 age groups, which support the amendment at a rate of 44 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Public opinion on the amendment has swung back and forth, according to PPP’s results: In January, the firm found 48 percent supporting passage and 44 percent opposed, while a June survey found opposition leading 49 percent to 43 percent.
“It looks like Minnesota’s marriage amendment will go down to the wire,” PPP president Dean Debnam said in a statement accompanying the results.
Following virtually every poll to date, the PPP survey indicates that the voter ID amendment looks likely to pass comfortably. On that issue, PPP’s respondents are 56 percent in favor of the amendment, and only 39 percent opposed. The recent Survey USA poll had the state’s feelings on that question even further apart, with 62 percent in support and 31 percent opposed.
Though PPP’s likely voters favored the Republican positions on both amendments, they were generally more inclined toward Democratic politicians. Gov. Mark Dayton received a 48 percent favorable rating and 37 percent disapproval, nearly identical to the 49-36 ratings he received in June. Dayton also fares well against a generic Repulican opponent, where the poll gives him a 51 percent to 38 percent advantage.
Among other prominent Minnesota politicians, U.S. Sen. Al Franken is similarly well thought of (49 percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable) and would hold a 49-42 advantage over a generic GOP challenger. The favorable-unfavorable ratings for potential Republican Senate candidates Norm Coleman (35 percent favorable, 39 percent unfavorable), Tim Pawlenty (40-48) and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (29-59) are considerably less promising. In a hypothetical race, Franken would beat both Coleman and Pawlenty 50 percent to 43 percent, and best Bachmann 53-42, according to PPP’s findings.
The one positive development for Republican candidates comes via the generic question on legislative candidates. Respondents give DFL candidates the edge at 47 percent to 44 for Republicans, but that’s a dramatic improvement for the GOP since June, when PPP’s results gave DFL a 48-36 percent advantage on the generic question.