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A sprint to the finish line for marriage equality in Washington

Marriage equality

By Jacob CombsGoal Thermometer

Three new polls released in Washington state in the last few days show Referendum 74 heading for a spot in history as the first pro-marriage equality ballot measure to be passed by a vote of the people.  A KCTS 9 Washington poll found 57.9 percent of likely voters plan to approve Referendum 74 next Tuesday, while 36.9 plan to oppose it, with 4.8 percent undecided (and a margin of error of 3.6 percent).  A KING 5 poll (conducted by SurveyUSA) showed a slightly closer race, but one that was still in the referendum’s favor, with 52 percent of respondents supporting the measure and 43 percent opposing it, with 5 percent undecided (and a margin of error of 4.2 percent).  That’s closer from the same poll’s results two weeks ago (which found a 54-41 percent split), but it’s still good news for marriage equality in the state.

In addition, a University of Washington poll (conducted with KCTS-TV) found Referendum 74 leading with a 57.9 to 36.9 percent margin of support amongst likely voters. Importantly, the UW poll also released separate numbers considering voters who might be unwilling to give a so-called “socially undesirable” answer which found 52.3 percent of likely voters supporting the ballot measure and 45.8 percent opposing it.  All three polls included relatively small sample sizes (around 500-700 voters), so they should be taken with a grain of salt.  Nonetheless, they show Referendum 74 in a good position four days out from the election.

Don’t forget, Courage Campaign is running a drawing for a post-election vacation weekend for anyone who donates to our Referendum 74 GOTV efforts.  If you make a contribution to send more Courage Campaign members to get out the vote in Washington State and expand our call-out-the-vote program, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a post-election vacation weekend: free round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara or San Diego, and two nights with pro-equality Kimpton Hotels.  We’ve had an amazing response for volunteers who want to go to Washington to help the initiative succeed, so any contribution you can make at this last stage helps us cover the costs of getting those volunteers to Washington to get out the vote!

In addition, Washington United for Marriage has launched a new social network tool that helps you search through your Facebook friends, find out who has voted and remind your friends to make their voice heard in support of marriage equality.  You can also sign up for training to phone bank from home to educate voters about Referendum 74.  The bottom line: there are a lot of ways to get involved, and any help will have an impact on the election.  If we can go into this weekend strong and get out the vote on Tuesday, we can help win the freedom to marry for Washington’s same-sex couples.


  • 1. Seth from Maryland  |  November 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Bangor Daily News Endorses Marriage Equality As ‘A Matter Of Fairness’:
    Some people may understandably oppose gay marriage for religious reasons, but — while the church has played a long and important role in marriage — they should remember that marriage licenses are issued by the state.

    They should also remember that no one is trying to change their beliefs. Clergy will not be forced to perform marriage ceremonies or bless gay couples. The legal freedom that protects clergy, allowing them the ability to choose whom to join in marriage, is the same legal freedom gay couples are seeking to be able to marry. Extending legal protections to the few does not hurt the majority.

  • 2. Seth from Maryland  |  November 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    The endorsement also notes that civil unions are insufficient recognition for same-sex couples, because marriage is the “most accurate representation” of “public recognition of the private love.” If equality passes in Maine next week, it will be the first time a state recognizes same-sex marriage thanks to a grassroots ballot initiative effort. The Bangor Daily News hopes that “voters affirm Maine as a place where people value the rights of all their neighbors equally.

  • 3. Dan  |  November 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Um, that's 2 polls, not 3. The first and third poll discussed above are really one and the same. There is a good deal of consistency in these 2 polls, as well as a group of polls released last week. They all are within a point of each other and all indicate a win for us in the range of 52-53 percent.

    Now for the usual bunch of people who come on here and insist that all the Prop 8 polls were wrong and showed us winning, please educate yourselves. Two pollsters in Prop 8 got it wrong, many others got it right. By 11/2/08, we knew we were losing and even the 2 pollsters that had their heads in the clouds were showing a rapid decline for our side, as their polls were rapidly conforming to the result that would become apparent a few days later.

    The polling in WA has been absolutely nothing like the polling in CA. The numbers have been extremely consistent across many polls and over time, and we know enough about each individual poll to make the necessary adjustments to be able to trust the data. Not one poll has shown us losing and only a single poll has showed us under 50%, and that was only by a point and in a poll that tends to get low responses for both sides on many issues.

    If you want to worry, worry about MN and MD, which are real wild cards. We are very likely up in ME, but it has been a few weeks since I have seen a poll, so that worries me a bit. In that regard, I think it was a mistake for CC to dedicate its resources to the strongest and wealthiest of the 4 campaigns, when MD really could have used the help a lot more.

  • 4. Seth from Maryland  |  November 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Marriage Equality Could Come Up During Veto Session in Illinois
    Many pro-marriage groups have noted that civil unions are not adequate when it comes to marriage equality. To this end, The Civil Rights Agenda out of Illinois founded the pro-marriage group the Equal Marriage Illinois Project.
    The two groups have learned that marriage equality legislation may be introduced during the legislative veto session, which is when the Illinois Assembly meets to pass any last minute legislation and vote on overriding any vetos.
    Rick Garcia, director of the EMIP stated "We have been traveling across the state speaking with constituents and legislators educating them on why equal marriage is so important.

  • 5. Dan  |  November 3, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Update: PPP just polled Maine and it shows we are up 52-45. We lost a few points during the month in which the no side ran TV ads, but it wasn't catastrophic. They took their best shot but we are still above 50. With PPP, the pro-gay number has been consistently accurate. Allocate all or virtually all undecideds to the no side and you likely have an accurate picture of Tuesday's result, i.e., 52-48.

  • 6. devon  |  November 3, 2012 at 5:38 am

    I'm most concerned about the result in MD, where polling shows a sharp decline in support for marriage equality in the african american community.
    Sunday will bring another round of hateful preaching by self proclaimed bishops and deacons.

  • 7. John_B_in_DC  |  November 3, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I'm assuming that in all of these (except Minnesota), our side simply needs to get more votes than the other side–i.e., a plurality will win it for us if a certain percentage of people don't vote on the issue (e.g., 48 to 47, with 5 percent not voting). In Minnesota the amendment needs to get over 50 percent of ALL votes cast in the election (a blank vote is effectively a no vote) but I haven't been able to get good information on these other states. In a veto referendum (Washington and Maryland) it would make more sense to me to require over 50% of the voters to overturn the legislature's action (e.g., if the "no" votes were 47% and "yes" votes were 46% the legislation would stand) but I don't think that's the case.

  • 8. Seth from Maryland  |  November 3, 2012 at 7:40 am

    yea this a good poll , but i would like to see some polling from inside the state, i think the support could even be higher, if you look at the last ppp poll an compaire it to this one its almost the results

  • 9. Stefan  |  November 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

    This poll is very good news. Remember back in 2009 the last PPP poll released around this time showed us losing 51/47, nearly mirroring the actual results.

  • 10. grod  |  November 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Seth Of the average number of marriages performed in Maine per year, the Catholic Church married 4% of them. Of these marriages a third are interfaith marriages. If the statistics are comparable in the other states with civil marriage ballot initiatives, it is extraordinary to me that their leaders or their surrogate (i.e. NOM) seek to play such a central role. Take Maine 2009 ballot initiative. The church and its proxies (KoC) infused 54% of the total $3.4 million spent by 'against equality' side. Particularly so, as you point out, when their right to only marry those choose is protected.

  • 11. PDx_Str8_Supporter  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

    A simple majority will suffice in WA. 50% + 1 vote of all ballots cast for the referendum.

  • 12. Seth from Maryland  |  November 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    [youtube 33Wk_ixktEo&feature=g-user-u youtube]

  • 13. Seth from Maryland  |  November 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    really good ad for the final days ahead

  • 14. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    How's it looking in Maryland? Do you think we can pull this off? I honeslty think we will barely eek it out. 51-49 in favor

  • 15. Tyler O.  |  November 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I predict a 4 point spread in favor.

  • 16. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    For maryland or washington?

  • 17. Tyler O.  |  November 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    MD. I think WA will be a bit larger.

  • 18. grod  |  November 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Dan – PPP has said that the undecided should be grouped with the Nos to equality. That is still a four point spread in the Yes to equality's favour. It would be useful to see results in the 13/16 counties that voted against equality in 2009. Or the polls of voters in Lewiston, Auburn, Biddeford, Sanford and Augusta- given these are the five of the 10 largest cities/towns that voted against equality in 2009

  • 19. Dan  |  November 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    As I noted above, the new PPP poll in WA shows us up by 9, but making the necessary adjustments for a PPP poll, we are up by 4. This is consistent with both the KING and KCTS9 polls. Same result from PPP for Maine from yesterday. If we do wind up at 52-48 in both ME and WA, we can draw some conclusions about the impact of Frank Schubert's wave of TV ads, the entirety of which aired in October.

    If these polls are borne out on Tuesday, then we can conclude that in ME his ad campaign it would have moved the needle about 3 points and in WA, about 2 points.

    As far as I can tell, the needle has not moved significantly in MN in either direction. We have been – and are now – about 1 point behind, although it is entirely possible, and arguably likely, that we might win because ballots with no vote cast on the amendment will count as a no vote.

    As for MD, there is a schism in the polling and thus I have no idea how it will come out. If you believe the Baltimore Sun poll, then our support collapsed after his ads started running and they can be credited with helping to move the needle by something like 6 points. If you believe PPP and WaPo, then our support is holding and the needle has barely moved at all.

    In any event, in 3 of the 4 states we have good consistent polling and the indications are that his ad campaign yielded lackluster results. Certainly not the dramatic results we saw in CA in 2008. Hopefully, this may indicate that his Prop 8 strategy that served him so well in 08 and 09 is running out of steam. The fact that he had to hunt around for a theme to use on top of his David Parker/schools attack may further indicate that he recognized the need to make changes.

  • 20. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I think we'll win by 4 points in ME and WA. MN is a complete toss up but the only thing in our favor is that a blank vote is a no vote.

  • 21. Dan  |  November 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Absolutely. That is the way to read a PPP poll. If you make that adjustment, you can have confidence that you are getting an accurate result. PPP accurately called the result in CA in 08, ME in 09 an NC this year.

    Also, hot off the presses, PPP just polled in WA and released the results just now. We are up 52-43. Make the same adjustments as discussed above, and we get 52-48. You can see that this is completely consistent, to within less than a percentage point – of both the KING poll and the adjusted KCTS9 poll. When 3 polls are saying the same thing, to within a fraction of a point, that's very likely where we are going to be on Tuesday.

  • 22. Dan  |  November 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    My prediction for MN: we have as good a chance of losing as we do of winning and it very likely will turn on the number of ballots cast on which no vote is cast on the amendment.

    Historical precedent clearly indicates that there is a consistent drop off – where a ballot is cast for President and other races but no vote is cast on the marriage amendment. You would think that there would be very little drop off, since everyone knows that it is on the ballot and it inspires such strong feelings. But this happens. In Prop 8, the drop off was 2.5%. And that came after $80 million in spending from both sides. In other states, the drop off has been less, but it is always there. It should be 1% at a minimum.

    Will the MN dropoff be enough? It is impossible to say. We don't know whether the straight yes/no votes will leave us with a deficit of 1% or 2% or more. The smaller the deficit on the straight voting, the more likely the MN rule on blank ballots can save us. We also don't know whether Minnesotans will be less likely to drop off because they are aware of their state's rule and its effect on the outcome. Certainly the "yes" side has taken pains to let the public know that a blank vote is a no vote.

    So MN is a toss-up and MD is a wild card. I feel a lot better about WA and ME. If we win those 2 – a two-coast victory that ups the number of marriage equality states to 8 – that would be a good night for us.

  • 23. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    That's because if you know somebody who is gay, it makes it a lot harder for you to think of them as a freak compared to somebody who doesn't know anybody who's gay who sees those hate ads.

  • 24. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Btw I haven't seen any recent polls out of MD. Can you tell me where to find them?

  • 25. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    The entire existence of this discussion just makes me want to live in Canada. Seriously. No TV ads, no stupid campaigns, no polls, just a quick legalization with barely any debate. If only we had it as good here as they do up there.

  • 26. Dan  |  November 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Here's WaPo showing us up 52-43 in MD:

    Here's the Baltimore Sun, showing us down 47-46:

    There are several other polls that support the WaPo outcome. But the crappy Baltimore Sun poll is the last poll to be taken in MD.

    What this all comes down to is the African American vote. At the beginning of 2012, most polls showed that they were opposed, and thus most polls looked a lot like the Sun's poll. Then Obama came out in favor of marriage equality and there was a dramatic shift in African American opinion. Numerous polls showed this, so it was definitely a real change, and it sent our support into the 50s. Now the Sun comes along and shows that African American support has regressed to its earlier levels; the other polls don't show that. So it all comes down to whether Obama inspired a lasting change in African American opinion on this issue, or whether that change was simply a short-term phenomenon that has now evaporated. We'll know on Tuesday.

    One thing's for sure: it would have been immensely helpful if Obama had been willing to do a robo-call or even make a videotaped statement, as opposed to a written statement, in support of Question 6. We have given him a vast fortune in campaign donations and it would not have been too much to ask.

  • 27. Bob  |  November 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    you do,,, and you will,,,, stay focused,,,, win this thing,,,,,,

  • 28. Anthony  |  November 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    To be fair, the Sun didn't even use the ballot language that is going to be voted on. And yes, wording is everything. And the wording is EXTREMELY favorable to us with Question 6. That's why I think the WaPo poll is the most accurate. I think we will win 52 percent in ME, MD, and WA. MN I'm not sure on honestly.

  • 29. grod  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Anthony, I will echo West Coast Bob from the East Coast: "you do,,, and you will,,,, stay focused" and you will win the West Coast and the East Coast, and hopefully Maryland as well G

  • 30. Dan  |  November 4, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Another poll! Boy they sure are coming in fast and furious. This one is from Maine, conducted by Critical Insights for the Sunday Portland Press Herald. It is a legit outfit, but it does not have as extensive a track record as PPP.

    The poll shows us up 55-42. That is pretty awesome! It is also in line with one other very optimistic poll from SMS/Pan Atlantic. I did not put too much stock in the SMS/PA poll because they did a poor job of polling on this issue in 2009. With this latest poll backing them up, the SMS/PA poll just gained some credibility. If nothing else, this poll and the SMS/PA poll might suggest that the PPP finding of 52% support might be a floor, and that we might improve on that by a little bit.

    Assuming we win, the margin of victory will matter. Remember that in theory our opponents have the right to put this back on the ballot as soon as 2013. And with lower turnout, they would have an advantage in any of the next 3 years. If we score a convincing win, this will deter them. If we just barely squeak through, they will be emboldened to undo our victory.

  • 31. Dan  |  November 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Holy frak! Another poll just came down. You should all be grateful that I suffer from insomnia and am awake to collect all this data. :-)

    This one is a shocker. It is a PPP poll from Minnesota. PPP shows us ahead by 52-45. PPP's previous poll released on October 8 had showed us ahead 49-46. However, for the reasons discussed in my comments above, that is not really a good poll, since all undecideds must be allocated to the anti-gay side. So PPP's previous poll was really telling us that we were heading for a defeat 49-51.

    The poll that just came down would suggest that we picked up 3 points since the first week of October and that our adversaries have lost 3. That is not implausible on its face. This could be legit and the fact that it comes from PPP means that it carries great credibility. However, I would advise caution and skepticism. PPP does a great job, but it doesn't always get it right. This poll is not consistent with other polls from MN. I don't think I have seen any poll showing our side above 50. Nevertheless, it may indicate last minute momentum for us and even if we don't win on the straight yes/no vote, if we keep it close we might still win when blank ballots are counted as no votes.

    I really hope that our brothers and sisters in MN win. They have worked so hard, probably running the best campaign of the 4 and in the most difficult environment.

  • 32. John_B_in_DC  |  November 4, 2012 at 5:20 am

    The polls seem to be all over the place so it will be interesting to see how they are borne out in the actual election, and which ones came closest to reality. There are concerns about the accuracy of polling in general, given the changing demographics of cell phone use and the fact that far fewer people will even respond to a pollster than a few years ago.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if the "Bradley effect" might extend to Mormons–i.e., polls might indicate more people say they will vote for Romney than actually do. I've seen no discussion of it but many right-wing evangelical Christians–the base of the modern Republican party–are less than enthusiastic about Romney as they consider the LDS church to be a cult and have never considered Mormons to be "true Christians". If so, this would have a bigger effect on the vote for president than at the state level but it may trickle down to some of the state races. Come election day, some of these evangelical Christian voters might not have enough enthusiasm to get out to vote at all.

  • 33. Stefan  |  November 4, 2012 at 6:12 am

    And if they try that, we can sue them, a la Hollingsworth v Perry.

  • 34. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

    this actually seems right to me , every poll that has come out poll showed us getting closer , i think we may have gotten our message in time to the people in minnesota , we now may have a real good shot at winning this thing

  • 35. Anthony  |  November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I'd rather we win in Maryland than MN…because at least we can add another state with SSM. Even if we win in MN marriage is still not legal.

  • 36. John_B_in_DC  |  November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am

    And let's not forget the retention vote in Iowa! Any recent polls as to whether Iowa voters will retain Wiggins on the state supreme court?

  • 37. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

    heres the thing about Maryland, i think we can we might actually pulls this out , i just wish a poll thats worth damn reading would come out

  • 38. davep  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    First, my sincere thanks to everyone who has been contributing information about the polls in this thread. I mean that.

    But I really f*cking hate this. I have already voted, so if I could just put myself into a medically induced coma for the next 58 hours until the polls closed I would jump at the chance.

  • 39. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    [youtube HRNb4o8zzQQ& youtube]

  • 40. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    i dont why this keeps happening , why wont the video show up?

  • 41. grod  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Keep trying. You always bring excellent links like Jeff G

  • 42. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    A poll released Wednesday shows a majority of Iowans would retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

    Fifty-three percent of respondents to the Hawkeye Poll conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa said they want to retain Wiggins, while 30 percent said they would vote to remove Wiggins

  • 43. Bob  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  • 44. Bob  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    sorry,,, that's a link to how the election will affect Canada,,,,,,,

  • 45. MichGuy  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Are any of the members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) likley to lose their seat in Congress after the election. The reason I ask is because if they loose a seat and are replaced with pro-equality members then maybe BLAG will hold a new vote on whether to defend the DOMA challenges.

  • 46. Anthony  |  November 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I honestly don't think the public would be up for the same referendums over and over again. But if they are, then that's what court battles are for.

  • 47. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    To anyone wanting to take an active role in these final days, The Four has a volunteer phone bank that lets you call voters in ME, MD, MN, and WA from home:

  • 48. Rich  |  November 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Maine looks good…our state is really divided into two distinct areas: the 1st Congressional district (southern Maine) is much more liberal and supports "Yes on One" 63% to 38%. No surprise here. The truly interesting consideration is that the 2nd district, pretty much northern/ western Maine and generally much more rural and conservative supports "Yes" 48 to 47%, close but considering the not close southern district means that we stand a very good chance this time around. As you might expect, NOM is spending 500,000 this weekend on Robocalls to spread fear and lies among the electorate. What we have are the most fantastic and prolific positive ads this state has ever seen in support of marriage equality. Just came back from a neighborhood gathering; my partner and I heard nothing but praise for these ads and the positive (and emotional) tone they set in support of equal rights. At 55% to 42% we are in a really good place with 2 days to go. Throw good thoughts our way America; we are on the threshold of a dramatic shift in the fight for equality.

  • 49. Bob  |  November 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

  • 50. Straight Dave  |  November 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Very slim chance there, appox 0.00000000000000000000000000%.
    BLAG is composed of the House leaders from both parties – 3 Rep, 2 Dem. If a Rep loses their House seat, the replacement Dem won't take their BLAG seat. That will be given to the newly-chosen Rep leader.
    The Rep's look likely to retain a House majority, so we're just gonna have to put up with them wasting our money but ultimately losing anyway.

  • 51. Seth from Maryland  |  November 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    i guess we have to wait till tomm for a new maryland poll , i hope anyway, i would like to see where we kinda stand at

  • 52. Dan  |  November 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Hey all! Another MN poll. This one is from SUSA/KSTP. It seems to be confirming – to a degree – the movement seen in the PPP poll. We were down by one point and now we are winning by one point, 48-47. From KSTP:

    "In 4 SurveyUSA tracking polls going back 8 weeks, SurveyUSA has never shown the Minnesota Marriage Amendment being defeated. Until today. The margin is small, and could just be statistical noise, but at the wire, SurveyUSA has "No" at 48%, "Yes" at 47%, well within the survey's possible sources of error, but significant enough to warrant a mention. In SurveyUSA's two most recent polls, Yes led No by a single point. Now the dress shoe is on the other foot, with No leading Yes by a single point. There is some movement among women, and among Independents, in favor of No."

  • 53. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  November 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

    […] On Friday, I wrote about three new polls out of Washington state that showed very promising numbers for Referendum 74. […]

  • 54. Mike in Baltimore  |  November 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    "Bradley effect" ??

    You are still falling for the BS of the "Bradley effect"?

    The ONLY sites saying the "Bradley effect" is valid are right-wing sites. All valid studies after that election show that it was NOT true.

    And if you still believe the BS about 'blacks voted against Prop 8 in huge numbers', that is a very good indication that you haven't done any homework on that subject, either. Yes, African-Americans voted a bit more against Prop 8 than for it, but by about 3-6 points more (or about the same as the state as a whole).

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