Same-sex marriage (SSM)
2003 to 2007: Results of earlier
public opinion polls
in New Jersey
Numerous national polls and polls within a specific state have been sponsored on same-sex marriage (SSM) by secular, political and religious groups. Unfortunately, they do not necessarily give an accurate picture of support for SSM. There are many ways to distort polling results that are sometimes employed by groups who are more motivated to justify their beliefs than to accurately sample public opinion. Even if no distortion is intentionally taking place, the results will vary simply because of the precise question asked.
2003 to 2008: Garden State Equality Polls:
Zogby International and Rutgers-Eagleton conducted a series of public opinion polls
for Garden State Equality -- a gay-positive group promoting marriage
equity. They attempted to determine support of, and opposition to, same-sex marriage (SSM) among adults in New Jersey.
Results show a gradual increase of support and lessening of opposition to SSM.
||% favor SSM
||% opposed to SSM
|2005-APR-12 to 14
|2006-FEB-08 to 10
|2007-AUG-08 to 10
The sudden increase in SSM support during 2007 might have been caused by the
availability of civil unions for same-sex couples at that time. The law came into effect on
2007-FEB-19. The 2007-AUG poll was taken among 803 New Jersey voters; the margin
of error is ±3.5% 2 The gradual trend showing an increase in support and decrease of opposition to SSM seems to have been resumed in 2008
||% favor SSM
||% opposed to SSM
There appears to be a consistent difference between the results of the two
polling companies. 2,3,4 This
is probably due to the precise wording questions asked.
||2006-FEB: The Zogby results, for 2006-FEB, also showed:
||68% of Jews favor marriage equity, as do
||67% of Democrats
||62% of Independents
||60% of Catholics.
||67% of New Jersey voters oppose a constitutional amendment to ban SSM;
||28% are in favor of a ban.
Steven Goldstein, chairperson of Garden State Equality said:
"If marriage equality prevails at the state Supreme Court and national
anti-gay activists think of coming here, they will meet their Waterloo. New
Jersey marches to a different drummer and the beat of equality. New Jersey
is the state that doesn't hate."
||2006-DEC: A Zogby poll showed that 65% of New Jerseyans
believe that same-sex marriage is inevitable, while only 28 percent do not. 5
||2007-AUG: A Zogby poll showed that 61%
of New Jersey voters expect the state to enact marriage equality within two
years; 29% disagree. History has proven the majority wrong. Four years later, in mid-2011, there is a bill in the legislation and a lawsuit in Superior Court to enable SSM in the state.
Another finding was that
55% of the subjects said that they would be less likely
or much less likely to do business with a company that denies equal benefits
to gay employees.
Perhaps the most meaningful question asked was:
"Which of the following comes closest to
your own point of view:
(A) If gay couples want to marry, let them. It will ensure equality and
will not affect marriages of heterosexual couples anyway.
(B) Allow gay couples to enter into civil unions, but not marriage.
Allowing gay couples to marry will hurt the institution of marriage.
(C) Do not allow gay couples to marry or
enter into civil unions,?
48% of voters supported marriage equality,
30% supported civil unions but no more, and 20% supported neither marriage
nor civil unions for same-sex couples. 2
2007-NOV: Jersey Family Policy Council poll:
A survey conducted by WomanTrend, a division of "the polling
company inc" for the New Jersey Family Policy Council (NJFPC)
produced totally different results. The Council is a conservative group pursuing
"justice and righteousness," supporting "the traditional family"
by denying same-sex couples and their children access to the rights, privileges and protections of marriage. Their survey found:
||54% believe that marriage should remain restricted to between one man
and one woman.
||51% would vote for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as
the union of one man and one woman. 6
These data differ so much from those of the Zogby and Rutgers-Eagleton polls
that we can only conclude that the subjects in the poll conducted for the NJFPC
are not randomly chosen, and/or that the questions were highly biased, and/or
that the preamble to the questions had the result of biasing the subject against
One indicator of bias in questioning was when the subjects were asked whether
they agreed with the statement:
"Same-sex couples have a right to live as they choose, but they do not
have a right to redefine marriage for the rest of society."
61% of voters agreed with the statement. But the question makes no sense.
||Loving, committed same-sex couples in New Jersey do not have a right to live as
they choose. Many would choose to be married if they had the chance; but
they lack that right.
||Same-sex couples obviously do not have a right to redefine marriage;
neither do African Americans, Mormons, males, physicians, or any other
minority group. That right is held by the legislature subject to a review of
constitutionality by the courts.
The telephone survey involved 600 New Jersey "likely voters" on 2007-OCT-06
to 09. The margin of error is ±4.0%. 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Zogby poll: New Jersey wants to dup civil unions," Freedom to Marry, 2008-AUG-19, at: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/
- Zogby Poll: Six months into New Jersey civil unions,
voters say change the law to real marriage equality," Garden State
Equality, 2007-AUG, at: http://www.gardenstateequality.org/
- "News from Garden State Equality," 2006-JUN-23, at: http://eqfed.org/
- "Garden State Equality-Zogby Poll of New Jersey," 2005-APR, at: http://www.gardenstateequality.org/
- Robert Rakelly, "N.J. governor signs civil unions law - State Supreme Courts in Massachusetts,"
Seattle Gay News, 2006-DEC, at: http://www.sgn.org/
- "New Jerseyans Say: Live & Let Live for Same-Sex
Couples But DON'T Redefine Marriage Law for Everyone Else," New Jersey Family
Policy Council, 2007-NOV-14, at: http://www.njfpc.org/
Copyright © 2009 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Parts originally written: 2009-APR-23
Latest update: 2012-JAN-13
Author: B.A. Robinson