To The Polls

As Maine Listens on Marriage, 39% Support Full Gay Marriage


The two-bill open hearing that Maine’s House Judiciary Committee is hosting is already underway. But as legislators listen from constituents on whether they want to overturn the same-sex marriage ban and/or create a domestic partnership registry to grant gay couples some marital rights, Maine’s populus have weighed in already.

With polls — the sometimes-accurate, often-flawed, partly-meaningless, and many-times-completely-accurate means of tracking popular opinion.

One poll says 47.3 percent of residents support repealing the same-sex marriage ban; 49.5 percent oppose it. The rest (3.2 percent) haven’t decided; the margin of error is 4.9 percent. Conducted by the Pan Atlantic SMS Group Omnibus Poll, some 400 people were surveyed, reports the Bangor Daily News. Opponents to the bills argue not enough people were asked.

A second question asked respondents to choose the statement which most accurately described their “position on the issue of marriage for gay and lesbian couples and civil unions”:

• 39.3%: “Support for full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples”
• 34.5%: “Support gay and civil unions or partnerships, but not gay marriage.”
• 23%: “Oppose any legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples.”
• 3.2%: Don’t know

Adds the Daily News:

The polling firm compared data from a similar poll on the same subject in March 2004. Since then, support for same-sex marriage has increased 9 percent while support for same sex unions has risen just 1 percent.

Maine residents that oppose both same-sex marriage and civil unions fell from 31.8 percent in 2004 to 23 percent in 2009, while the people who don’t know which they prefer rose from 2.5 to 3.3 percent.

Data from the poll showed that 49.5 percent of Mainers between the ages of 18 and 34 support same-sex marriage while just 31.7 percent of those over 55 do. Democrats — 50.3 percent of them — are more likely to favor the proposed change in marriage laws than Republicans.

Only 18.3 percent of those polled who identified themselves as members of the GOP said they support same-sex marriage. A similar gap exists geographically, with more supporters in southern Maine than in the northern and Down East regions supporting same-sex marriage.