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November 18, 2011


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The marriage results are endlessly fascinating, even when the outcome is a foregone conclusion. MS historically has been the most opposed and it turned in the most lopsided "yes" vote on its marriage amendment in 2004. That vote was 86%-14%.

Although no one would deny that the PPP results continue to show very strong opposition, you can see erosion even in MS. As in many other PPP polls in the South, you see erosion in opposition but not much increase in support. And you see very clear increases in support for civil unions, which strongly indicates those who formerly opposed all recognition have now adopted a view that is pro-civil unions and uncertain/uncommitted about full marriage.

So over 7 years, the 86% no vote has eroded by 8%, with those respondents moving to undecided rather than support. That is completely consistent with the trends in other hostile states that PPP has polled, such as South Carolina, Texas, and Missouri.

Although I am not aware of the civil union numbers back in 2004, I would feel confident in assuming that it was nowhere near 38%. The 38% number very likely follows the same trend seen in SC, TX, MO and other states, i.e., a significant increase in support.

Last observation: This poll affirms something that Nate Silver noticed. As support grows and opposition erodes, the pro-gay marriage trend accelerates. So a state that starts out extremely hostile will initially see only glacial movement. But as the trend continues and the support/oppose levels move closer, the pro-gay trend accelerates. If Silver's theory holds up, we should start seeing more rapid deterioration of opposition in states like ME and CA, where support/oppose was 47/53 and 48/52 in the last several years. (In that regard, I am eagerly awaiting your miscellany results for CA.)

For states like MS, it would seem to be 20 years away from such a tipping point, assuming present trends continue.

Patrick Stuart

I guess this confirms the suspicion that many of us have already accepted: that the old confederate crowd has about universally gone from Democratic to Republican.

Also, count me as sad that so many Republicans in the state are against interracial marriage (seriously, Mississippi?) - and young people more than old (unless that is statistical noise).

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