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01/07/2011

Thanks for the push, Maggie. We like this Michigan poll too

by Jeremy Hooper

This is how Maggie Gallagher, writing for the NOM Blog, presents new Michigan state polling data:

Screen Shot 2011-01-07 At 9.49.48 Am
[NOM BLOG]

So okay, let's start with the "only 55 percent" claim. Are we seriously at a place where Maggie is painting a certain subdivision's majority support for marriage equality as a good sign for her side? Because it wasn't too long ago -- as in HDTV was already around -- that all breakdowns in all polls were under the 50% mark. If Maggie wants to look somewhat favorably at majority percentages like this one, in a world where support firms up every time a new voter turns eighteen, then that's her prerogative. But we don't believe she believes it. Not really.

But beyond just that: The actual WDIV/Detroit News/Glengariff Group Inc data paints an even more favorable pic than Maggie's purposely limited presentation would have one believe.

By a margin of 38.5%-50.2%, Michigan voters oppose allowing gay men and lesbians to get married. 54.9% of Democratic voters support gay marriage, 42.3% of Independent voters support gay marriage, but only 19.6% of Republican voters support gay marriage.

But when asked if they support granting the alternative of civil unions to provide the legal benefits of marriage while still preserving the word marriage as something between a man and a woman, voters support civil unions by a margin of 55.7%-36.5%.

63.7% of Democratic voters, 61.1% of Independent voters and even 44.3% of Republican voters said they could support civil unions for gay and lesbian Michiganders.

There is a strongly difference by gender specifically on the issue of marriage.

Men oppose marriage by a margin of 33.0%-56.7% But women SUPPORT same sex marriage by the narrow margin of 44.0%-42.6% Men support civil unions by a margin of 55.7%-36.7%. Women support civil unions by a nearly identical margin of 55.7%-36.3%. Men appear to have a strong reaction to the word ‘marriage’ that women do not share.
Michigan Voters Survey (pdf) [Glengariff]

Funny that Maggie completely overlooks civil unions (which, at the end of the day, NOM almost ways disfavors, even if they're less forthright about it).

But beyond even that data, there's one more important piece that Maggie fails to mention. In the marriage question itself, there is a pretty high "don't know/refused" percentage, and an undeniably small opposition figure:

Screen Shot 2011-01-07 At 9.58.54 Am

11.3% didn't answer? Hmm. There are multiple reasons why folks might fall into that category. But most opponents of marriage equality are pretty darn forthright about it. We'd def. go out on a limb and say a larger portion of that 11.3% will move our way over the years, especially if we just keep telling our stories.

And finally: The fact that only 50.2% in total voiced opposition, and only 42% of them strongly? That's pretty soft for someone like Maggie, who relies on a motivated opposition to turn out on election day. No wonder she ignored it.

If this poll is truly representative and a question of marriage inequality again makes its way to Michigan's polls, will Maggie able to hold onto/turn out enough of this 50.2%, or to convert enough of the undecideds to put her fight above the bare majority threshold? Perhaps. But tick, tick, Maggie -- 18th birthday party invites go out every day.

**

*NOTE: An earlier version of this post suggested that Michigan did not yet have a constitutional ban. In fact, the state did pass a ban in 2004 -- One that banned both marriage and civil unions.

Interestingly, they did so by 58.6%, which would seem to further highlight that momentum is on our side, not Maggie's.

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