Elon Releases SameSex Marriage Poll
Special Report - March 23, 2009
The majority of North Carolinians in an Elon University poll released March 23 oppose full marriage rights for same-sex couples. According to the survey of 620 adults in North Carolina, 44.4 percent said they “oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples,” and 27.5 percent said they “support civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples but not full marriage rights.” Only 20.8 percent said they supported “full marriage rights” for same-sex couples.
The Elon poll also asked respondents two questions about the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment, which would amend the North Carolina constitution to define marriage as only the union of a man and a woman. Legislation that would give North Carolinians the chance to vote on the marriage amendment has been introduced in both the State House and Senate. About 50 percent of those polled by Elon University said they were opposed to “an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would prevent any same-sex marriage,” while 43 percent said they supported the amendment. The Elon pollsters also told respondents in a second related question about the state’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits same-sex marriage. Respondents were then asked: “Knowing that there is already a law that prevents same sex marriages in North Carolina, would you [oppose or support] an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would prevent same-sex marriages?” According to the results, 43 percent said they would support or strongly support the amendment, while about 46 percent said they were opposed or strongly opposed to it.
The Elon poll’s findings appear to contradict several other recent polls regarding the Marriage Protection Amendment, including a February poll by the John W. Pope Civitas Institute, which found overwhelming support among North Carolinians for the Marriage Protection Amendment. The Civitas poll differed from the Elon University poll in a number of key ways. First, Civitas surveyed 600 registered voters, while the Elon poll surveyed North Carolinians over 18 and did not distinguish between registered or non-registered voters. More importantly, the Civitas poll asked the question regarding the Marriage Protection Amendment in a different way, “North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast that does not have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment in North Carolina defining marriage as between one man and one woman?” Three-fourths of voters in the Civitas poll (or 76 percent) said they supported the amendment, while 21 percent said they opposed the amendment.
A non-scientific poll by WRAL also found overwhelming support for the Marriage Protection Amendment. For example, 75 percent of respondents in WRAL’s poll said they “would vote in favor of the amendment, which would define marriage as a union of a man and woman,” while 22 percent said they “would vote against the amendment,” and one percent said they were not sure, and another one percent said they would not vote.
“This Elon University poll shows that it is not so much what you ask but how you ask the question that matters in these surveys,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of NC4Marriage. “If you compare the questions in the Elon University poll to the Citivas poll and even the WRAL poll, you’ll notice that the Elon pollsters framed the question about the marriage protection amendment in a negative way. They also told people that North Carolina already has a law that prohibits same-sex ‘marriage’ without explaining that without an amendment, these statutes are vulnerable to being overturned by the courts.”
Fitzgerald added, “Other polls on the Marriage Protection Amendment show that when North Carolinians are asked if they support preserving the definition of marriage as one man and one woman in our state constitution, they overwhelmingly say yes! That’s because the Marriage Protection Amendment is not about banning anything. It is about preserving the age-old definition of marriage for future generations.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.