WRAL News poll: NC marriage amendment has widespread support

Posted March 21, 2012

Gay marriage debate, same-sex marriage

— A proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage in North Carolina as being between one man and one woman has broad support among voters statewide, according to a new WRAL News poll.

Amendment One, which would effectively bar any same-sex union in the state, will appear on the May 8 primary ballot.

SurveyUSA polled 1,001 likely voters across North Carolina between last Friday and Tuesday and found that 58 percent support the referendum. Thirty-six percent of voters oppose it, and 6 percent remain undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Although North Carolina law already prohibits same-sex couples from marrying, it is the only state in the Southeast without such restrictions written into its constitution.

The marriage amendment has split the state in recent months, with even President Barack Obama and the Catholic church weighing in. Obama spoke out last week against the amendment, and North Carolina's two Catholic bishops responded Wednesday by calling the president's position a "disappointment."

Amendment opponents say the measure would enshrine discrimination in the North Carolina constitution and could have unforeseen consequences.

"Any time the majority makes decisions on behalf of the minority, it's hurtful. It's wrong," said Anthony Pugliese, who is raising two daughters with his partner of 15 years, Alex Mancuso.

The amendment is "taking a bad law and making it even more pronounced. It's elevating it to another level," Pugliese said.

Mancuso said the couple view themselves as a normal and traditional family.

"The way we're bringing the children up with love and caring (and) trying to make them as healthy as they can be, that's why I guess I'm saying we're traditional," he said.

Opponents say NC voters don't understand marriage amendment Opponents say NC voters don't understand marriage amendment

Supporters say marriage is not a right, and the amendment would protect the traditional institution of marriage from court rulings allowing same-sex couples to wed.

"The point is, we're trying to allow the people to decide by allowing them to vote May 8th and not allow an activist judge to decide for us," supporter Tyler McNabb said. "Marriage is an institution that was created by God."

Both sides have held rallies in recent weeks to energize their bases in advance of the primary.

The WRAL News poll shows the amendment has broad support across most segments of the population.

More than 60 percent of men and 55 percent of women back the proposal. Along racial lines, 61 percent of white voters and 56 percent of black voters support it.

Support for the amendment appears to increase with age, from 50 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds to 65 percent among those age 65 and older.

Independent and moderate voters were the only demographic segments where amendment opponents held a slight advantage – although it was within the margin of error in both instances.

Among independents, opposition to the amendment is running at 47 percent, compared with 45 percent for supporters. Democratic voters are evenly split on the issue at 46 percent a side.

Voters identifying themselves as moderate oppose the amendment by a 46 to 44 percent margin.

A recent Elon University poll found that 58 percent of North Carolinians oppose the amendment, with 38 in favor of it. That poll surveys adults statewide, while the WRAL News poll includes the results only of likely voters.

Despite the broad amendment support in the WRAL News poll, only 37 percent of voters said same-sex couples deserve no legal recognition in North Carolina, according to the poll. Twenty-one percent said they should be allowed to marry, 19 percent said they should be eligible for domestic partner benefits and 17 percent said civil unions should be permitted in the state.

McNabb called those numbers "a red herring" that distracts from the overall debate on the amendment, but Pugliese said he thinks they show that people don't really understand the amendment.


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  • Mon Account Mar 29, 2012

    "Marriage is between ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN. It is very simple. Marriage between same-sex couples is not a marriage, and should not be treated as such." - Southern Girl

    READ THE AMENDMENT before you say such things.
    This amendment does NOT DEFINE MARRIAGE.
    This amendment DOES limit rights when you are NOT married, regardless of the gender of your partner.

    Why would you support an amendment because you define marriage as between a man and a woman when the amendment isn't about that?

  • NC Dawg Mar 29, 2012

    WRAL...it's the "Marriage Protection Amendment". It isn't Amendment One.

  • dwntwnboy Mar 28, 2012

    Shame so many people would think this amendment would actually help our society. Goes to show the danger of stupid people in large numbers!

  • jbengel Mar 27, 2012

    The most common mistake I see in news reports about this amendment is repeated in the first sentence of this story: "...a constitutional amendment that would define marriage...". Amendment One does NOT do this. The amendment defines the only legally recognized union AS a marriage, but does not define what a marriage IS. The NCGS Sec. 51 defines marriage in very clear and unambiguous terms, and specifically prohibits marriage between same sex couples. The amendment apparently relies on this definition to do the heavy lifting, because it doesn't come up with its own. What it DOES do is state that unless you are a married heterosexual couple, you have no legal recognition in this state.

    If the question put to poll respondents is whether they believe marriage should be limited to a man and a woman it's a valid question, it's just not the question that will be on the ballot. THAT question is whether or not you think that such a marriage is the only valid type of union. I for one don't

  • josephkrahn Mar 26, 2012

    No matter what happens on May 8, same-sex marriage will some day be legal in the entire United STates. Support among young people is constantly increasing. You cannot stop it. You can only delay it. And some day your grandchildren will wonder why you wer so hateful.

  • randall0123a Mar 23, 2012

    Some of you are missing the point. If YOU don't like same-sex marriage, then YOU shouldn't marry a person of the same sex. Wow, I can't think of anything less complicated. Now, to enforce your will on other people, that's unjust. If two people love each other and share a home (a life), then they should have the legal benefits that go with that union. If you think this is against God's will, then let God handle it. Since there is a clear separation of religion and state, the government has NO business interfering, which comes down to discrimination. Personally, I am straight and love my girlfriend. I am just sick of BIG government sticking its nose into and interfering with every facet of our lives. For all of you against gay marriage, I would love to see your reaction if the day ever comes when you are told you cannot marry the one you love, or cannot gain the legal benefits, by telling you what you can and can't do.

  • Mon Account Mar 23, 2012

    "Its Jack and Jill, not Jack and Steve. Whats so hard about that to understand?" - littleriver69

    No- it's Jack and Jill MARRIED. This amendment is that the only legal union recognized by the state is a man married to a woman. It is not a 'gay marriage' amendment as many mistakenly call it (notice gay isn't a word in it?).

    This is an amendment to discriminate against anyone not married. If Jack and Jill are not married but have children they are directly impacted by this amendment. If Jack and Jill are an elderly couple not marrying because they would lose benefits, they are impacted. Choose between health benefits and inheritance rights? Children not having health benefits because their parents aren't married?

    Do a little more research on the impact of this amendment. It has happened in other states and is proving to be an expensive (to the taxpayers) step.

    The 'Jack and Steve' part is cute, but more of a distraction from the facts. Say 'no' to a big invasive government!

  • littleriver69 Mar 23, 2012

    Its Jack and Jill, not Jack and Steve. Whats so hard about that to understand?

  • whoami Mar 22, 2012

    There is nothing in the bible about man being one day able to create an iPhone, but we did and I don't think anyone is going to hell for it. Point - not everything was defined in the bible.

  • Mon Account Mar 22, 2012

    I was at a restaurant in Greensboro last weekend, right after church. I expected to hear some chatter and I did. One guy said that he believes in God and He's the higher power who he must answer to. He said he thinks the amendment is a BAD idea and will vote against it because politicians are corrupting the word of God to add discrimination to our secular laws. He was furious that politicians do this time and time again and he's tired of it. He said he answers to God. That's it. Not these politicians.

    I thought it was a very interesting point to make.