HRC Cash To Aid Marriage-Equality Campaigns

Even with marriage equality polling well, states rely on HRC investments as backup

By John Riley
Published on August 9, 2012, 12:51am | Comments

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Griffin added, ''All of these campaigns are winnable but they need resources to educate voters and fight back the lies from groups like the National Organization for Marriage. The country is moving in the direction of equality and a win in any of these states will show that marriage equality is quickly becoming a mainstream, American value.''

In response to HRC's announcement, Marylanders for Marriage Equality's campaign manager, Josh Levin, said the campaign was ''grateful'' for the investment and thanked them for being a ''tremendous partner'' in the effort to uphold the marriage-equality law.

In Maryland, as in Maine and Washington, a majority of registered voters say they would vote to uphold the state's recently passed marriage-equality law. The results of a July poll by Hart Research show 54 percent of voters saying they'd vote in favor of the law and 40 percent say they'd vote against it. The margin of error for that poll was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The Hart Research poll also showed supporters of marriage equality holding an 8-point edge in terms of intensity, with 43 percent of voters saying they ''strongly'' support marriage equality and 35 percent saying they ''strongly'' oppose it. That marks a 7-point swing since March, when another Hart Research poll found ''strong'' sentiment evenly divided. According to the July poll, voters who say the referendum is ''extremely important'' favor the marriage equality law by a 2-1 margin over opponents of the law, 66 percent to 33 percent.

White voters favor upholding the marriage law by 13 points, with 54 percent supporting it and 41 percent opposed, up from a 53-42 margin in March. But much of the momentum from Hart's last poll came from African-Americans, who are now evenly divided, with 44 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. That marks an increase from a March Hart poll, when only 40 percent of African-Americans supported the marriage-equality law and 49 percent were opposed.

''We're winning over undecided and the intensity is clearly on our side,'' Levin had said in an Aug. 2 statement following release of the poll data. ''Voters are realizing that this law is about treating our gay friends, family and neighbors equally under the law, and that no religious institution would be forced to marry anyone they objected to.''

But the Hart Research poll, while favorable, was less rosy than a May poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) that found support for the law leading by 20 points, 57-37. That poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percent.

That May poll also found an increase in support among African-Americans following the endorsement of marriage equality by President Barack Obama and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). But it placed the margin of support for the law among African-American voters much higher, leading by 55 percent to 39 percent.