New polling reveals unprecedented support for civil marriage equality
ANNAPOLIS, FEBRUARY 21, 2011 - Recent polling conducted by Grove Insight validates citizen support for Maryland's march towards civil marriage equality. This data shows that Thursday's historic vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that moved SB 116 (the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act) out of committee and closer to a full Senate vote is concurrent with Maryland public opinion.
Across Maryland, support for civil marriage equality sits at a 8 point advantage- 49% of voters favor marriage equality as compared to 41% who oppose it and 10% with no opinion. Grove also found that after discussing the love and commitment of gay and lesbian couples, support jumped another 4 points with 53% in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. These results are consistent with the January 2011 Washington Post survey which reported that 51 percent of Maryland voters support marriage equality.
The poll further demonstrates that the racial gap in support has virtually vanished: 48% of African Americans support marriage equality and just 41% oppose it- a net gain of 13 points since 2009. In contrast, 51% of white Marylanders favor marriage equality and only 40% oppose it- results statistically indistinguishable from blacks.
Catholic voters marriage equality very strongly: 55% of Catholics support marriage and just 39% oppose it. Even Catholics who attend church frequently favor marriage equality: 50% of frequent Catholic Church attendees support marriage equality compared to just 43% who oppose it.
Pro-marriage forces will continue to make rapid gains because future and swing voters support marriage equality at very high rates. Support for marriage equality is strongest among young Maryland voters- 65% of voters aged 18 to 29 support marriage equality. Registered independents - a key voting bloc of swing voters - favor marriage equality by a formidable 27 points with fully 59% in support.
The margin of support for marriage leaps to 17 points when respondents consider potential ballot referendum. When asked if the issue were put to a statewide ballot taking the focus away from other pressing issues like jobs and the economy, 52% of all survey takers indicate they would not overturn the law and restrict legal allowances for same-sex couples compared to just 35% who would.
"The results of this poll demonstrate what we already know about the evolving viewpoints in Maryland," said Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18). "Maryland residents see full protection under the law as the only fair path forward for the thousands of gay and lesbian couples living in our state."
"Momentum is growing in support of Senate Bill 116 as a full vote on civil marriage equality drawn near in Annapolis. We continue to encourage state lawmakers to support all loving and committed families in Maryland," said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland.
Questions regarding the poll can be answered by Equality Maryland upon request. Grove Insight interviewed 700 registered voters in Maryland during January 12-16, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 3.7%.