by Bob Geary
It's just one poll, and a given poll can be off by the margin of error — which is 3 points in this one — or it can be wrong. (About one poll in 20 is simply incorrect, as we all learned in statistics).
Still, when Public Policy Polling reported a week ago that Amendment 1's lead was down to 14 points, about half of what it was a few months ago, that was good news for the opposition. Because (and here's another polling maxim), once there's movement in a given direction, it tends to continue, even to accelerate. The same forces that are causing some to make up their minds in a certain way early will cause others to make the same decisions later.
But now, bad news. Amendment 1, as of polling done April 27-29, is still ahead by 14 points.
It's all here in PPP's words. Republican voters are solidly for Amendment 1. Democrats? They're opposed, but not as solidly.
If there's a silver lining, it's that Democrats are probably a whole lot more likely to vote in the primaries than Republicans, given that Mitt and McCrory (there's a team) have their races wrapped up.
In fact, there are other silver linings as well. When people are told (N.B. to the anti-campaign: Tell them) that Amendment 1 would ban civil unions in addition to defining marriage as heterosex-only, they turn sharply against it. It's a 22-point swing, from a 14-percent lead to an 8-percent deficit.
Plus, the youth are really against Amendment 1, and they may be turning out (in early voting, it looks like they are) to an unexpected degree because they're so against it.
Intensity matters. Here's an FYI: The Coalition for All NC Families, the anti-Amendment 1 group, lists 9,600 individual contributors on its new report to the State Board of Elections. That's 37 pages worth of donors (look at the second report listed, called Disclosure) through about a week ago. The Vote for Marriage side — the pro-Amendment campaign team — lists 754 individual donors; they fit on three pages.
Most of the pro-Amendment 1 money comes is coming from the Christian Action League, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Raleigh and Charlotte dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church. Plus a guy named Phil Drake.
Overall, the Coalition — the anti-Amendment 1 group — has raised more than $2.2 million, which is kind of amazing. The Vote for Marriage side has brought in $1.2 million.
From PPP's press release:
The good news for the amendment’s opponents is that more voters are now aware of the amendment’s consequences, and if all voters were informed of those consequences, the amendment would fail by a 38-46 margin, the same as last week.
A 40% plurality now knows that the amendment would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions, versus 36% in the previous survey. Those who know what the amendment would do are against it by 22 points, but they are outweighed by the strong support from the uneducated.
As part of the overall 22-point shift, Democrats move 21 points, Republicans 24 points, and independents 16 points against the amendment when told it would ban both marriage and civil unions for gay couples.
The reason this message has an impact is that 55% of these primary voters want same-sex couples to at least have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples, if not full marriage equality. That includes 67% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and even 35% of Republicans.
“Voters who understand what the amendment does are opposed to it,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But there’s a lot of education left to be done in this final week of the campaign.”