Thursday, December 3, 2009

Interesting numbers in Maine

Yesterday's gay marriage vote in New York got me thinking back to the referendum in Maine last month, where our polling was pretty good and I never got the chance to do a real wrap up.

Breaking down the referendum by party and ideology shows that while opinion on gay marriage certainly does break down largely on partisan lines, those lines are actually a lot blurrier than when it comes to something like Barack Obama's approval rating or health care.

For instance Republicans were more likely to support gay marriage (by opposing the referendum) than they were to approve of Obama or support him on health care. 47% of moderate Republicans planned to vote no on 1, even as just 33% of them expressed approval of the President and 25% supported him on health care. The difference was there, though less dramatic, with conservative Republicans as well. 11% voted no on 1 to just 6% approving of Obama and 5% favoring his health care plan.

So you'd think if Republicans were more supportive of gay marriage than Obama in a pretty blue state that the measure would have easily failed. But Democrats were less supportive of keeping gay marriage than they were of Obama or his plans on health care. Only 4% of liberal Democrats there disapprove of the President and just 6% expressed unhappiness with him on health care. But 14% said they were voting yes on 1. With moderate Democrats 9% disapproved of Obama and 15% were opposed to his health care plan but 32% were voting yes on 1. And with conservative Democrats 39% were unhappy with Obama and 40% didn't like his health care plan but when it came to voting for Question 1 66% said yes.

So Republicans were a little more liberal than usual when it came to voting on Question 1, perhaps out of some libertarian impulse. But Democrats were far more conservative and that's why it passed. Not sure what message that has for pro-marriage equality forces moving forward but it's interesting.

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