Poll: 48% of Oregon voters support same-sex marriage

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

On Friday night, New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage (joining Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and DC). 39 states, including Oregon, have prohibited it. In 2004, Oregonians voted 57% to 43% to pass Measure 36, a constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively in opposite-sex terms.

But a poll released Friday indicates that attitudes are changing fast. According to a survey of 701 Oregon voters (pdf) conducted last week by Public Policy Polling, 48% of Oregon voters believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. 42% said it should be illegal, leaving 11% unsure. The poll had a margin of error of 3.7%.

In a follow-up question, PPP gave voters three options:

Which of the following best describes your opinion on gay marriage: gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?

43% said gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. 33% were in favor of civil unions, but not marriage. And 22% said there should be no legal recognition. Just 1% were unsure.

That's a huge majority of 76% in favor of either marriage or civil unions -- which suggests that the challenge for gay-marriage proponents is to convince voters who support civil unions to support fulll marriage, rather than trying to bring along hard-line opponents of same-sex relationships.

On the jump, the crosstabs:

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?
DemocratsRepublicansIndependent & Other
Not Sure13%7%12%
Very liberalSomewhat liberalModerateSomewhat conservativeVery conservative
Not Sure4%12%17%11%4%
Not Sure12%10%
18-2930-4546-65Over 65
Not Sure17%9%8%13%
Which of the following best describes your opinion on gay marriage: gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?
DemocratsRepublicansIndependent & Other
Legal marriage65%12%45%
Civil unions only23%45%38%
No recognition11%42%16%
Not sure1%1%1%
Very liberalSomewhat liberalModerateSomewhat conservativeVery conservative
Legal marriage86%68%47%19%1%
Civil unions only10%22%36%51%43%
No recognition4%9%16%30%55%
Not Sure0%1%2%1%1%
Legal marriage44%42%
Civil unions only32%35%
No recognition23%21%
Not sure1%1%
18-2930-4546-65Over 65
Legal marriage55%57%37%28%
Civil unions only31%26%35%43%
No recognition14%16%27%26%
Not sure0%1%1%2%
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    Those are pretty good numbers and show what huge cultural change is occurring in the U.S. generationally.

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    Fortunately like other advanced democracies, America is becoming more secular. The more people embrace evidence-based approaches to understanding the world, the less bigotry, ignorance, and stupidity we will have to deal with, e.g., the war on non-heterosexuals.

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    with the big D & indy numbers for equity, this becomes a matter of turnout in 2012 when this is on the ballot. the more we get Ds & D-leaning indies to vote, not only do we re-elect Obama (that's another discussion) and get Bruce Hanna out of the co-speakership, we can then win this crucial civil rights fight.

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    This poll is exciting news. It shows how much progress we've made over the past couple years. Every day more and more Oregonians are embracing the freedom to marry.

    But it's also a reminder of the education work we still need to do. Blue Oregon readers especially should note that the poll indicates that one in three Democrats are still unsure or don't yet support marriage equality. These are our friends and family - and they need to hear from us.

    To get some ideas about how to start a conversation about the freedom to marry, check out the tips at www.lovecommitmentmarriage.org.

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    48% say "yes" and 11% are unsure. Plus, given the rate at which public opinion is changing (typically just under 1% per year, given that it was 42% "yes" in November 2004), it'll likely be around 49-50% "yes" by next year's election. That's a pretty good baseline; it shouldn't be all that hard to get just a small number of the fence-sitters to the "yes" side.

    As T.A. Barnhart points out, this will be about turnout. (Assuming, of course, that Measure 36 repeal is on next year's ballot, as it should be.)

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    Sadly, the whole issue hangs on one word. "Marriage".

    In other countries, they have a separation of a secular wedding and the bringing of the blessings of the deity of your choice upon a union. This would have been resolved long ago had we done the same in this country. Instead, we have to wade through horror stories about good, upstanding, powerless ministers being forced, FORCED, by jackbooted thugs into performing a ceremony upon in-progress orgies that may or may not involve guns, vegetables, steam pistons, pornography, a horse, or Pro Wrestling.

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    Wonder what percentage of Oregonian's believe the state should get out of the marriage business. Do we really need government to ratify our personal relationships?

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    What if we just removed the word "marriage" from all laws and statutes, and replaced it with the words "civil union"?

    The government should have nothing to do with "marriage". Let that be a religious word with no legal meaning. In the eyes of the law, everyone should just have a "civil union."

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    Joshua, The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life expects the world's Muslim population to grow by about 35 percent in the next 20 years. What is Islam's view of same sex marriage

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