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November 02, 2011

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Gerald

Great job in Maine. Really interesting results. PPP is the only organization to poll on the same-day registration question and has given us the first independent poll on marriage since the pro-gay side began its petitioning effort. So PPP has made a real contribution here.

I am surprised that the same-day registration question is as close as it is. As this is an off-off year election, turnout will be key. If the pro side has to rely on young voters, they will surely lose. They are probably counting on unions to turn out the vote.

On gay marriage, the 51% support level is, I believe, exactly the same as the support level shown in the poll released by the proponents a few months ago. I see that here, as in many other PPP polls, there is a decent sized undecided component. PPP's polling on this issue has been very accurate and PPP has been very successful in avoiding the so-called Bradley effect in its gay marriage polls. So I don't think that the 7% undecided are really just bashful "no" votes.

If Maine follows the same pattern as the other states that PPP has polled recently (HI, MO, SC, TX, etc.) these undecideds are former gay marriage opponents who would now readily embrace civil unions, but who are genuinely unsure about whether they can go as far as marriage. When given just the up or down question on marriage, they don't know which way to break so they go undecided.

The opposition will surely target these folks by trying to convince them that Maine's existing very limited domestic partnership law is good enough, and that if it does fall short, the best option would be to tweak it rather than grant gays full marriage equality. They used this approach on a limited basis in their 2009 campaign, and it caused a big rift with the hardliners who did not want to concede that any recognition of gay relationships was appropriate. It should be very interesting to see how they play the issue this time around.

Incidentally, the proponents have collected enough signatures to get it on the ballot and still have 2 months left to build a signature cushion. So this is definitely on for 2012.

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