One interesting fact is that Minnesota has an unusual method of counting votes on a constitutional amendment. When a person leaves the amendment question on the ballot blank, and then votes for a candidate, their lack of vote on the amendment is automatically counted as a "no" vote. 1 An unusually large percentage of potential voters plan to not vote on this amendment. Presumably they are conflicted by a preference to not allow SSM even as they are reluctant to add discrimination to the state constitution. Thus the actual projected result from the FEB-01 poll by SurveyUSA would be 47% in favor of the amendment and 49% opposed: much too close to call.
Other interesting information from the Public Policy poll is that 71% of Minnesota voters favor some form of formal recognition of same-sex couples, whether by allowing them to marry, or by creating a system of civil unions which would give them all the rights of marriage except for what is for many the most important right of all: to be able to call their relationship a marriage. Poll results showed that when adults are given three options (marriage, civil unions, and no recognition at all) results are:
37% feel that same-sex couples should be "allowed to legally marry."
34% said that "gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry."
27% said that same-sex couples and their children should have no recognition or protections at all; this is the current situation in Minnesota.
PPP attributes a main cause of the surge in support for SSM in 2012-June -- and the surge in opposition to the amendment -- to President Obama's statement of support for marriage equality in early May. The shift seems to have come mostly from independent voters. Independents supported the amendment 50% to 40% in January; by June they oppose it 54% to 37%. Meanwhile Republicans support the amendment by a margin of 74 to 21% in June, even as Democrats oppose it 71% to 22%.
The usual generation gap found throughout the U.S. was found in Minnesota as well. Voters over 45 years-of-age supported the amendment in 2012-JUN by a margin of 50 to 42%; those under 45 oppose it by a 60 to 34% margin. This would seem to indicate that even if the the amendment passes in 2012, a subsequent amendment to repeal it would probably pass in the future.
Public Policy Polling commented:
"Independents coming a lot closer to Democrats than Republicans on gay rights is becoming something of a constant in our polling. The GOP seriously risks antagonizing voters in the middle if it continues to pursue a far right social agenda.
The Republicans decided to "pursue a far right social agenda" at their National Convention during 2012-AUG. Their platform committee considered a plank to recognize same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships, and rejected it. They considered an federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage nationwide. It was accepted as part of the Republican platform. In contrast, the Democratic National Convention included in their platform support for same-sex marriage. Its "Freedom to Marry" section states:
"We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.
We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples.
We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act."
Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling said after the 2012-JUN poll:
“The pro-equality side is now winning on gay marriage ballot initiatives in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington. The landscape has changed significantly since Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage." 2
However, the 2010-JUL poll by SurveyUSA gave totally different results with opposition dropping by about 10 percentage points and support increasing by a similar amount. That seems impossible to account for. 3
Pollster Bill Morris, head of Decision Resources in Minneapolis, doubts that the July poll is accurate. He said:
"I've been doing statewide polling on the marriage issue for more than four years, dating back to Michele Bachmann's national marriage amendment bill. The most fluctuation I've seen is in the five to six percentage point range, but not 15 points, and not in this short of a time span. ... There are a lot of factors at play, and some people tend to give what they believe is the politically correct answer. The question is whether they'll make the same choice in the privacy of the voting booth."
Another factor that makes the July poll strange is that there is little gender gap or age gap in the results. 4 Of the many dozens of national and state polls that we have observed in the U.S. and other countries, women are far more accepting of SSM than are men. Also older teens, young adults, and adults up to the age of 35 are far more supportive of SSM than are seniors.
However, as election day approaches, it is expected that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) -- the main group opposing marriage by same-sex couples -- will invest millions of dollars to have fear-based ads broadcast on TV. They can be expected to shift public opinion by many percentage points.
The PPP results from their 2012-SEP-10 poll show that the result is probably too close to call; it could go either way. The closeness of the results make it probable that another consitutional amendment will almost certainly be organized within a few years to try to reverse the results of the 2012-NOV vote -- no matter which way it goes. This same poll shows that voters are :
"... strongly supportive of providing gay couples with some form of legal rights. 72% support either marriage or civil unions to only 25% opposed to any sort of legal recognition. Even Republicans by a 51/47 margin at least support civil unions." 5
2012-SEP-14: Former Governor Jesse Ventura favors same-sex marriage and promotes defeat of the amendment:
Minnesotans United for All Families, a group promoting marriage equality, sent the following note to persons on its mailing list from Jesse Ventura:
"Being a Minnesotan is something I've always been proud of. We're independent, freethinking people. We don't let anyone tell us what to do, or what is right and wrong. We fight our own battles.
That's why Terry and I are proud to speak out today against this harmful and divisive constitutional amendment.
This amendment just isn't the way we do things in Minnesota. We don't use our constitution to limit the rights and freedoms of our fellow citizens. We don't tell some families that they aren't good enough. We don't let government dictate love.
I know you and I may not agree on everything. But I'm certain that we can agree that every Minnesotan has dignity, and that none of us should be constitutionally deemed unworthy of marrying the person we love.
Defeating this amendment isn't a liberal or conservative issue - because the truth is that it impacts each and every one of us.
We have a chance to decide what kind of state we want to be - and I plan to make sure that we're the kind of state that protects the freedom and dignity of every Minnesotan.
No matter what they say, love is by far bigger than government can ever be.
38th Governor of Minnesota"
This video was posted on You Tube on 2012-SEP-14. Within 24 hours, it has accumulated 24,277 views, 592 likes, 8 dislikes and 100 comments! You Tube posted the following two as "Top Comments:"
Jeanne Wiestling: "Another Catholic voting NO (regular Mass attender, active in my church, LOVE Jesus and do my best every day to treat others well). No WAY Christ would have supported this BS. I'm a nice mom and a Loaves and Fishes Volunteer. I play bridge. And I'd love to kick someones ASS over the fact that this is even on the ballot in my state. SHAME on the Minnesota Republican party. This WILL come back to haunt you at the election, you MORONS.
"Lemonsquishy:" "I don't care if you do or do not like the idea of GLBT people getting married, this bill is a violation of the constitution and should not even be considered as a bill. And as a Minnesotan, I am insulted that our congress would even allow this to be on the ballot. Please vote no." 6
KairaMithra wrote: "It's bs that this even has to be voted on. If there were a separation of church from state like it's supposed to be then this wouldn't even be an issue. Vote NO"
Egore1961 wrote: "When our country allows this type of constitutional amendments, its the beginning of the end of our society. If the extreme right can get away with it, then the extreme left will eventually try it too. A potentially slippery slope indeed. In this Jesse and his wife are glaringly correct in their assertions. Folks, you gotta look past the issue itself and see the whole of what is actually happening here. As far as myself, happiness is a right that should never be taken away from anyone."
bd12648 wrote: "I also stand for freedom and equality for all. And I also agree that if two people, whether they are of opposite sex or same sex, should be free to get married if they so wish. Also if a priest or minister is willing to marry them, then he or she should be allowed to. After all, doesn't it say in the Constitution that all people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"
AvonJoyous666 wrote: "I keep going back to one specific thing I was always taught that religion was about love and being loving not hateful. Too many Christians nowadays intentionally ignore that and refuse to do that. They would rather hate threaten damn and condemn. Shameful to say the least. It truly puts a dark cloud and a negative outlook on religion based on these persons actions and behaviors regarding their own religion. It certainly doesnt make that religion look good having those individuals represent it."
Maris Ehlers wrote: "This is by far the best commentary on the shameful marriage amendment on the ballot here in Minnesota. As a straight, married, Christian Mom, Jesse and Terry, I admire you taking a public stance on such an important issue. It is about freedom and refusing to allow government to use the constitution to oppress us. Thank you, thank you!" 6
None of the 100 comments posted were in favor of the amendment; all were in favor of marriage equality of "liberty and justice for all." and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.