Elon, N.C. — Fifty-six percent of North Carolina residents oppose a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriages, according to a poll released Friday.
The Elon University Poll, which surveyed 594 adults statewide between Sunday and Thursday, found support for recognizing gay marriages growing in North Carolina. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Forty-four percent of respondents to a March 2009 Elon poll opposed any legal recognition of gay marriage in the state, but that stance was down to 34 percent in the latest poll. Meanwhile, a third of those polled this week back full marriage rights for same-sex couples, up from 21 percent in March 2009.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the latest poll back the proposed amendment, which will appear on the ballot next May after lawmakers passed it this month. Two years ago, 43 percent of respondents supported an amendment.
“The ballot referendum that would ban same-sex marriage will be the issue to watch this year,” Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. “With North Carolinians so divided on this issue, expect a tough battle over the next few months as both sides attempt to sway public opinion in their favor."
The new poll also found that a majority of state residents disapprove of Gov. Beverly Perdue's job performance, including her handling of the state economy.
Forty-seven percent of those polled said the state has gotten off track, compared with 38 percent who said North Carolina is headed in the right direction. Thirty-one percent fear the state economy will get worse in the coming year, while only 17 percent said they think the economy will improve. More than half of respondents said economic conditions would remain the same over the next 12 months.
Perdue's handling of the economy drew a 51 percent disapproval rating, compared with 36 percent who said she is doing a good job. Likewise, 51 percent of respondents disapprove of her overall job performance, compared with 41 percent who approve.
Respondents were split on the performance of the General Assembly, with 39 percent approving of the job lawmakers are doing and 41 percent disapproving. The Republican Party got higher marks in the poll, with a third of those surveyed saying the GOP is doing a better job handling North Carolina's economy, compared with 23 percent who said the Democrats are doing a better job. Twenty-seven percent said neither party is doing a good job.