Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Redlawsk on Big Ten Gay Marriage Poll

Big Ten Poll: Majority support Same Sex Unions

A Big Ten poll released Tuesday shows 28 percent of Iowans support same-sex marriage. "The key is that in addition another 30% support civil unions, so you get a majority in favor of legal recognition of same sex relationships," said University of Iowa political science professor David Redlawsk.

The poll was conduced in mid-October, before California's Proposition 8 ended legal gay marriage in that state.

"Iowa has a history of being in the forefront on civil rights issues," said Redlawsk. "I think that's mostly a midwestern sensibleness, a bit of a 'it seems reasonable' thing."

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 9 soon on an appeal of a lower court ruling that opened a window of several hours in which gay marriage was legal in Iowa. One couple successfully held a ceremony and several others got licenses.

The poll showed that with a Supreme Court ruling, support for marriage increases to 35 percent, with another 27 percent supporting civil unions but not marriage.

If the court rules in favor of marriage, the issue is sure to be a hot one in the 2009 Iowa Legislature. Republicans pushed for a vote on a constitutional amendment, but majority Democrats stopped it.

"Intensity always outhustles soft support, no doubt about it, especially on an issue like this where those in opposition are often in that position due to very strongly held core values stemming from religious convictions," said Redlawsk. "You can see the effect in the religion and frequency of church attendance breakdowns in the poll topline data."

Redlawsk said the poll did not include an urban vs. rural breakdown, but tbig differences show in the age breakdown. "Younger voters--those under 30--already show majority support at 50.5% for gay marriage. This suggests to me that the future will look very different from the past."

Full Iowa results (.pdf)

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