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Polls differ on Minnesota public’s attitudes towards marriage amendment

Four polls have been released this week showing different results among Minnesota’s electorate a year before the the 2012 vote on the controversial amendment to add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.minnesotaindependent.com/marriage500-300x225.jpg

Two polls show that the amendment might get defeated while two others show a slight lead for anti-gay marriage activists.

On Thursday, the St. Cloud State University Survey was released showing that 47 percent of Minnesotans thought the constitution should not be amended and 44 percent said it should. The difference is within the poll’s 5 percent margin of error, making the result a statistical tie.

The St. Cloud Times notes that the margin changes drastically depending on what type of phone the user answered: 48 percent of landline phone users supported the amendment compared to 39 percent of cell phone users.

A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll released on Wednesday found that 46 percent of registered voters support the amendment while 40 percent said they would vote against it. Interestingly, the poll also asked whether someone would not vote on the issue, which is considered a “no” vote in Minnesota. Ten percent said they did not plan to vote at all on the question bringing the total of opposition and under-vote to 50 percent, within the poll’s 4.3 percent margin of error making the question a statistical tie.

The landline versus mobile split was also present in the SurveyUSA poll. Only 34 percent of mobile users planned to vote for the amendment while 50 percent of landline users planned to vote for it.

The Star Tribune released its Minnesota poll on Tuesday showing that 48 percent of Minnesotans support the amendment, 43 percent opposed it and 8 percent are undecided. The results were within the poll’s margin of error, meaning that this poll as well was a statistical tie.

The result matches closely with what SurveyUSA found but completely opposite of the St. Cloud State University poll.

The one poll that was an outlier in this week was a poll by QEV Analytics commissioned by Minnesota for Marriage, the group advocating for the gay marriage ban. In that poll, 51 percent of voters said they would vote for the amendment and 40 percent would vote against it.

Minnesota for Marriage released the poll in response to the Star Tribune poll, which the group calls biased.

“The Star Tribune survey showing us with a five point lead substantially understates our true position. This is not surprising given the newspaper’s historic bias against conservative issues and candidates,” Minnesota for Marriage chair John Helmberger said in a statement. “We are releasing our own survey, which utilized the actual wording of the amendment question being presented to voters, to show that we enter the campaign in a very strong position.”

The QEV poll excluded media and political employees and their families from the poll. It asked, “Are you, or anyone in your household, employed with an advertising agency, newspaper, television or radio station, or political campaign?” Anyone who answered in the affirmative was excluded from the poll.

The poll also differed in that it heavily sampled older Minnesotans. Only 35 percent of the poll’s respondents were under age 50, while 60 percent were 50 years old and over.

QEV has been the pollster of choice for the National Organization for Marriage which is part of the Minnesota for Marriage coalition.

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