PPP's newest look at the marriage amendment in North Carolina finds it passing by a wide margin, but also that voters don't really understand what the ban does and that once they do things get a lot closer.
58% of voters in the state say that they'll vote yes on Amendment 1, while 38% are opposed to it. Republicans pretty universally support it, 76/20. Democrats are closely divided with 48% in support and 47% opposed. White Democrats are opposed to the proposed ban, but African Americans support it 61/30.
The group most opposed is actually independents, who say they'll vote against it 55/42. That's an important commentary on unaffiliated voters beyond this issue- they lean Republican in North Carolina right now because they're unhappy with the economy, but they're not hardcore social conservatives. The GOP needs to be careful about going too far out on a limb on social issues if it wants to keep its support with independents.
Although our poll finds support for the amendment, it also finds that 51% of voters in the state support some form of legal recognition for gay couples- 26% for marriage and 25% for civil unions- with only 45% completely opposed to any. It may seem inconsistent that a majority supports either gay marriage or civil unions but also supports the amendment that would ban both of them. But what we find is that voters don't actually know what it does:
-28% think that it only bans gay marriage.
-7% think that it actually legalizes gay marriage.
-34% admit that they don't know exactly what the amendment does.
When voters are informed that the amendment bans both gay marriage and civil unions their tune changes quite a bit. Only 41% of voters say they'll support it knowing that, while 42% are opposed. So despite the large current lead for the amendment, there is some hope for those trying to defeat it. It's just going to take a lot of education and effort over the final six weeks to make sure voters really understand exactly what they're voting on.
Full results here