Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maine
2009: Public opinion surveys on Question 1
To date we have found five recent public opinion polls of Maine voters on the Question 1 referendum scheduled for 2009-NOV-03.
A majority "NO" vote of the referendum would activate same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maine; a "YES" vote would prevent the law legalizing SSM that has been passed by the legislature from taking effect.
Recording the date in the middle of each poll, results were:
Even though the margin of error is quite large for each of the polls, there was a suggestion that support for SSM was increasing in the state, until the data from the fourth poll was publicized. However, the fourth poll did not poll a representative sample of the population.
2009-SEP-21: Poll results show even split for and against marriage equality:
KOS Media reported the results of a poll taken between SEP-14 and 16, inclusive. 600 persons were asked the following question:
The sample size was 600 persons. The margin of error is ±4%. 1,2
2009-SEP-27: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll: majority support SSM:
This poll was taken between 2009-SEP-23 and 27 among 808 registered voters. The margin of error is about ±3.5%.
Question 6 in the poll asked:
Lumping together the solid voters with the leaning voters, and assuming that the undecided don't vote, the best guess of the outcome would be 50% No, and 41% Yes. Question 1 would fail; the law would be activated, and same-sex couples could marry.
2009-OCT-07: Omnibus poll: majority support SSM:
A Pan Atlantic SMS Group Omnibus Poll was conducted between
2009-SEP-30 and 2009-OCT-07 among 401 registered voters who said that they are
likely to vote in November. The Margin of Error is ±4.9%.
Between 2009-APR and 2009-OCT, the percentage of persons who rated "gay marriage" as the most important issue rose from 0.0% to 5.7%.
Another question dealt with Question 1. It asked:
Lumping together the solid voters with the leaning voters, and assuming that the undecided don't vote, the best guess of the outcome would be 52% No, and 43% Yes. Question 1 would fail; the law would be activated, and same-sex couples could marry.
2009-OCT-19: Public Policy Polling shows an even split:
Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of 1,130 likely voters from OCT-16 to OCT-19. The results are curious. Previous polls, shown above, had indicated a progressive, slow rise in support for SSM with the most recent poll showing a 9% gap between voters prepared to vote No and Yes. Yet 12 days later, the new poll seems to show that the gap has completely vanished.
Results were: 5
There are three odd features about this poll:
Correcting the poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP):
Fortunately, it is possible to compensate for the unbalanced sampling by PPP and arrive at a reasonable estimate of public support and opposition to Question 1:
Total persons questioned by PPP: 1130; Total
yes votes; 542 Total no votes;
MapStats reports that in Maine, those aged 65 or older constituted 14.8%
of the population in 2007.
14.5% (164 subjects) would be aged 66 or older. They would have voted voted 54% (89 votes) yes and 40% (66 votes) no
Thus there would have been 45 fewer yes votes and 34 fewer no votes.
The new count of 1045 representative subjects would be 47.6% (497 votes) yes and 48.6% (508 votes) no. Question 1 would be very narrowly defeated, but only if the same percentage of persons of all ages actually voted.
2009-OCT-28: Daily KOS/Research 2000 poll: majority support SSM:
This poll was taken between 2009-OCT-26 and 28 among 600 registered voters. The margin of error is about ±4%. 7
Comment on the polls; a prediction:
Unfortunately, for the first three polls and the fifth poll, the sample sizes are very small and the margin of error is thus very large. There appear to be very serious problems with the fourth poll. It is a pity that a referendum that is so important to the lives of same-sex couples has not motivated pollsters to conduct a truly representative survey of, say, 2,000 people which would result in a margin of error of about ±2.5% and an accurate result of the pulse of the people of Maine.
If these values are correct and remain unchanged until election day, then we predict that the majority will probably vote "Yes" and prevent SSM from being legalized in the state. That is because the 2009 elections are on an off-year. The voter turnout will probably be low this year. Older voters, who generally oppose SSM, are historically somewhat more likely to get out and vote. That is probably sufficient to make the actual vote unrepresentative of the will of most adults in Maine.
Comment on the Question process itself:
That raises an interesting point that nobody seems to be discussing: what percentage in a referendum should be required to have it pass? If the question dealt with something like highway tolls or school taxes, it would seem reasonable that only 50% plus one vote could fairly be required to pass. But Question 1 is different. Here we have a group -- loving committed same-sex couples who had been granted the right to marry by the legislature and having that fundamental civil right removed. That is an important right because it directly affects the protections experienced by the couple and their children. It is obvious that many Republicans, and social and religious conservatives are concerned about the impact that same-sex marriage would have on the institution of marriage. But it is also obvious that some of the "Yes" vote is motivated by homophobia -- the desire to downgrade the rights of bisexuals and homosexuals because of hatred. Should a a simple majority of 50% plus one vote be sufficient to wipe out a civil right?
Apparently, the answer is yes in Maine. All questions put to the voters are considered equal. Unfortunately, Maine and the rest of the U.S. is packed full of minorities. Agnostics, Atheists, the elderly, evangelicals, Jews, men, model railroaders, Muslims, Roman Catholics, software geeks, young adults, and countless other groups are minorities -- some very tiny minorities. A "Question 1" referendum intended to remove civil rights from some of these groups could easily pass for the simple reason that the majority doesn't like them much. In short, everyone's rights are in danger of from the tyranny of the majority. If you are an adult Maine resident, voting "Yes" in this referendum might come back to bite you at some time in the future.
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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
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