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PPP Poll suggests when people understand Amendment 1 in North Carolina, they oppose it

Marriage equality Right-wing Uncategorized

By Scottie ThomastonGoal Thermometer

Public Policy Polling has just released a new poll of likely primary voters in North Carolina who were asked about Amendment 1, the state constitutional amendment on the ballot for the May 8 primary. According to PPP, the news is mostly not good, but there seems to be some hope:

PPP’s newest look at the marriage amendment in North Carolina finds it passing by a wide margin, but also that voters don’t really understand what the ban does and that once they do things get a lot closer.

58% of voters in the state say that they’ll vote yes on Amendment 1, while 38% are opposed to it. Republicans pretty universally support it, 76/20. Democrats are closely divided with 48% in support and 47% opposed. White Democrats are opposed to the proposed ban, but African Americans support it 61/30.

The fact that voters don’t know what the amendment will actually do seems to suggest that there’s a chance that with some more outreach and education, it could be winnable for the equality side:

The marriage amendment which will be on the ballot during the May 8th North Carolina primary continues to lead for passage by 20 points, but if voters are informed of its negative consequences for the potential future passage of civil unions for gay couples, it would narrowly fail.

58% of likely primary voters say right now that they would vote “yes,” while 38% plan to vote “no.” But at the same time, 51% of these voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples’ relationships, either full marriage or civil unions. 34% of those folks are planning to vote for the amendment. Because of that, if informed that the amendment would ban both marriage and civil unions for gay couples, support goes down 17 points to 41%, and opposition rises 4% to 42%.

Part of the problem is that voters are not well informed about what the amendment does. A 34% plurality say they are not sure on that question. Almost as many (31%) do know that it would ban both gay marriage and civil unions, but then not many fewer (28%) think it would only ban marriage. 7% actually think it would legalize gay marriage. Those who think it bans solely marriage rights are voting 67-30 for it, so 8% of North Carolinians, while misinformed, are voting against the measure simply because they think it bans same-sex marriage alone. Of course, those who think a “yes” vote actually legalizes these unions are voting by the same margin for it.

Democrats seem to narrowly favor the amendment, but interestingly, independents oppose it:

Democrats narrowly favor the amendment from the get-go (48-47), and Republicans do overwhelmingly (76-20), but independents oppose it, 42-55.

PPP finds this notable:

The group most opposed is actually independents, who say they’ll vote against it 55/42. That’s an important commentary on unaffiliated voters beyond this issue- they lean Republican in North Carolina right now because they’re unhappy with the economy, but they’re not hardcore social conservatives. The GOP needs to be careful about going too far out on a limb on social issues if it wants to keep its support with independents.

According to these results, it will come down to making sure voters are fully informed about what the amendment will do. Voters seem largely in support of the concept that marriage is between a man and a woman, but they aren’t willing to deny all recognition to all gay couples across the board. Voters don’t seem to know the amendment denies civil unions and possibly other protections to loving gay couples along with marriage.

The results suggest this knowledge would change the outlook:

When voters are informed that the amendment bans both gay marriage and civil unions their tune changes quite a bit. Only 41% of voters say they’ll support it knowing that, while 42% are opposed. So despite the large current lead for the amendment, there is some hope for those trying to defeat it.

And this is why the fight in North Carolina is so important and necessary. It’s close and it seems possible that the campaign could help make sure enough voters are informed about what’s in the amendment before May 8th. Without outreach and education things certainly look a lot more bleak, but bringing down the numbers of supporters of the amendment to 41% does not seem too far out of reach.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  March 29, 2012 at 10:38 am


  • 2. Richard Lyon  |  March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Understanding the implications of prop 8 were a key factor in the outcome of the election. It was pretty clear that the proponents were considerably more effective in getting their message about it across because they did engage in extensive community outreach. just realizing that voters need better information is not enough. You have to take it to their front door.

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 29, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Agreed Richard, we can't be in a bubble on this and preach to the choir all the time.

  • 4. Jamie  |  March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I don't understand why this website is resorting to dishonest spin. 8% might vote against the amendment if they are properly educated about what it does. Meanwhile, 8% that are for the amendment are voting against it because they are actually confused. If you educated every voter in the State (itself, an impossible goal) as to what the amendment actually does, it would result in a complete wash, and the amendment passing by a some 20 point margin. Is this what qualifies as "hope" now? Let's waste more valuable resources defending ourselves against poorly worded, dishonest, purposefully confusing ballot measure instigated by the other side.

    Better chance of winning? File the lawsuit against the amendment the day before the vote.

  • 5. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I reported on actual poll results and the actual report written by the poling agency. Is PPP in the bag for the anti-Amendment 1 campaign or something?

  • 6. Str8Grandmother  |  March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I say don't lay down, go down fighting!

  • 7. Seth from Maryland  |  March 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Hey does anyone having polling data on Minnesota? i have not seen any info on that state in a while

  • 8. nightshayde  |  March 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Sounds like the anti-amendment folks need to start running TV ads that specifically tell people the amendment bans civil unions and domestic partnerships along with marriage.

  • 9. Kivo  |  March 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I tend to agree with Jamie, although I can see both sides. The problem with casting something in terms of hope is first and foremost that the hope is usually false, but also that it really has nothing to do with reporting or journalism. In reality, Amendment 1 has about a 100% chance of passing. This isn't to say it's not worth fighting. It certainly is. But in a world of limited resources, it is incumbent upon us to measure the benefits of fighting a losing battle there as opposed to a potentially winning battle in Maine or Washington.

  • 10. Bill S.  |  March 30, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I think they should have ads where people say "I'm against gay marriage but I'm still voting No on 1 because it bans civil unions, as well as domestic partnerships for our seniors." Show lots of lovey-dovey straight couples say while they don't agree with gay marriage, they'll be voting No on 1 because it'll affect straight people's lives.

    I know it'll hurt gay people to have to see ads like that, but that's the only way we will win here.

  • 11. bruh  |  March 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Either you are numbers challenged, or just engaged in hyperbole, because 100 percent is not the number on either side.

    I have to question what purpose some of you serve here other than to say "all hope is lost." The point of this polling data is not that outcomes are certain, but there is a chance to win despite your claim.

    In fact, its not enough for folks like you to tell us how you emotionally feel here. You need to demonstrate how the polling data is wrong. You aren't doing that. You are merely saying "I feel." I don't see how you are any different than any other faith based argument.

  • 12. bruh  |  March 30, 2012 at 9:20 am

    You speak of "limited resources" but folks have enough resources to place money in states already won while ignoring states that are "winnable." Key words- "winnable" That means you got to fight for it. If you can explain in a reason based way why you don't think its reasonable to place fund in a winnable state, and not spend money in states already won, I would love to hear it.

  • 13. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    […] Coming a month ahead of the vote on Amendment 1, the polling trend seems to suggest more confusion about what the amendment would actually do; this is something a similar poll released last week from PPP suggested as well. […]

  • 14. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

    […] vote is less than a month from now, on May 8th and the latest poll on Amendment 1 suggests that if more people knew what the amendment actually does, it would […]

  • 15. pbay123  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Pretty sad you are having to fight to get this passed. And "educate" us stupid folks. With language like that do you see what the problem is? The pro-gay community constantly assumes that people who are anti-gay are stupid, discriminators, or bigots. When you attack people like that, they are 10 times more likely to be against you. Try doing things the right way instead of trying to guilt people and lie to them to get them to vote a certain way. It's pathetic and shows that you are morally deprived and you lose the vote of independents like myself.

  • 16. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

    […] shows support at 54%-40% of likely voters. This is a 6 point shift from the numbers PPP released in the last poll of likely voters on March 29, which showed support for the amendment at 58-38. That poll also suggested that when voters are […]

  • 17. North Carolinians’ &hellip  |  April 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    […] likely voters (with 40 percent opposed). This is a six-point shift from the numbers PPP released in the last poll of likely voters on March 29, which showed support for the amendment at 58 percent (with 38 percent opposed). That poll also […]

  • 18. North Carolinians’ &hellip  |  April 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    […] likely voters (with 40 percent opposed). This is a six-point shift from the numbers PPP released in the last poll of likely voters on March 29, which showed support for the amendment at 58 percent (with 38 percent opposed). That poll also […]

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