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September 23, 2011


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I think that PPP is rendering an important public service with its state polling on marriage equality. I want to thank you for it.

That having been said, I take exception to the spin on the marriage polling in the PPP blog in the last few posts. You are missing the story. If a man endeavors to walk from New York City to San Francisco and PPP checks in on him when he is passing through Colorado, the story is not that he hasn't yet made it to California. The story is that he has made enormous strides toward achieving a once-distant goal.

Every single poll you have taken has shown opposition eroding rapidly when compared to polls and actual vote totals from 2004-2008. It is true of course that ample majorities in states like TX, MO and SC oppose gay marriage. But opposition in these states was overwhelming only a few years ago. Compare the PPP results with the referenda votes in these states:

SC - Banned gay marriage and civil unions in 2006 by a vote of 78-22. Five years later, PPP clocks opposition at 69-21; opinion on civil unions 48/51 percent.

TX - Banned gay marriage and civil unions in 2005 by a vote of 76-24. Six years later, PPP finds opposition at 61-29. Civil unions, explicitly banned in 2005, now has 59% support, 40% opposed.

MO - Banned gay marriage only in 2004 by a vote of 71-29. PPP finds opposition 7 years later, PPP finds opposition at 59-32. Civil unions get 62% support.

Decline in opposition:
SC - 5 years - 9 points SSM/27 points CUs
TX - 6 years - 15 points SSM/36 points CUs
MO - 7 years - 12 points SSM/CUs unknown

It is worth noting that these shifts have not come about as the result of any lavish ad campaigns or voter education effort in any of these states. They are simply happening as a matter of course as the country as a whole changes. That is the real story to come out of these red state polls and the one that should have been highlighted in your press releases and on the blog.


Texas currently has two same-sex divorce cases before the state supreme court. The question is whether a same-sex couple can get a divorce in Texas if they were legally married in another state. It would be VERY interesting to see what the poll numbers are on this. I'd be willing to bet that a large majority of Texans would favor allowing the divorce, even though they would typically oppose "recognizing" the marriage. Any way you could slip a question like this into your next poll?

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