July 24, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Polling firm SurveyUSA last week released two new polls regarding the likelihood of success for marriage equality in both Minnesota and Washington state this November. In Minnesota, SurveyUSA found that 52 percent of likely voters would vote for an anti-marriage equality amendment, with 37 percent saying that would vote against it. Six percent were unsure, and the poll’s margin error was 4.3 percent. In Washington, SurveyUSA found that a law to uphold marriage equality in the state would pass by a 50-43 percent margin, albeit with 7 percent of respondents unsure of their vote and a margin of error of 4 percent.
As always, reading too much into single polls is almost certain to result in a skewed picture of the political reality. For example, Public Policy Polling released a poll last month that showed Minnesota failing by a 49-43 percent margin. A PPP poll in Washington found marriage equality passing by a 51-42 percent margin.
What these polls show, really, is that all of the marriage campaigns across the country are almost guaranteed to be decided on a close margin, and the campaigns that will lead up to them will make a difference. Nevertheless, it’s a good sign that these polls, on the aggregate, don’t show us losing ground, or will significant deficits in support to make up, as we did in North Carolina. Moving forward, however, it’s in our best interest to look at the way the polls are trending, and not read too much into any one poll itself.