David Hann explains why gay people are so yucky. Photo by Tim Nelson (minnesota.publicradio.org).
by Tony Petrangelo
Feb 9, 2012, 9:00 AM

Three Minnesota Constitutional Amendment Polls

The folks at SUSA asked about one constitutional amendment that’s already on the ballot and two that seem like they’re destined for that same fate.

SurveyUSA (2/3, 11/8 in parenthesis, 5/25 in brackets):

“An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution on the ballot defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will you vote…”

For 47 (46) [51]
Against 39 (40) [40]
Not vote 10 (10) [8]
Not sure 4 (4) [2]
(MoE: ±4.3%)

This issue has essentially stabilized over the last six months, with amendment supporters holding a small but consistent ~4 point advantage in the average of polls. SurveyUSA though is the only pollster who has given respondants the option of not voting for the amendment and they find 10% who utilize this option.

Those not votes, by people who cast a ballot, will count the same as no votes so it’s tempting to simply lump them together and say that the amendment is actually losing slightly 49-47.

It’s not quite that simple though. If you look at the cross tabs of that 10% (and here we get into issues of sample size, so beware) you see that they are distributed across the political and ideological spectrum, but those who say they will not vote on the question tend to share many non-political demographic traits with those who tend to support the amendment: high-school education and less then $40k income.

I don’t doubt that some of these people will not vote on the amendment, as they claim, but I also think that some amount of them will end up on one side or the other.

I would guess that it probably ends up braking down that half of these people actually don’t vote on the question while the other half split and half vote for, half against. Under that scenario, you get 49% for the amendment, 41% against and 5% not voting. Add it all up and the amendment has a 49-46 plurality.

That’s all conjecture though.

If we only look back to polls taken since November of last year, support for the amendment has polled in a 48-46 point range while opposition has been in a 44-40 point range. So we’re looking at about a 5 point deficit. I suspect that there will be about 5% who don’t vote on the amendment, and depending on the ordering it could even be higher.

So right now it looks like a 50/50 proposition if I had to place odds on it, not a terrible place to be with nine months to go.

SurveyUSA (2/3, no trend lines):

“If an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution were on the ballot that would designate Minnesota as a “right to work” state, meaning it would be easier for workers to opt out of unions and union dues, how would you vote?”

For 55
Against 24
Not vote 9
Not sure 12
(MoE: ±4.3%)

And if you think that’s depressing…

SurveyUSA (2/3, no trend lines):

“If an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution were on the ballot that would require voters to show photo I.D.’s in order to vote on Election Day, how would you vote?”

For 70
Against 23
Not vote 4
Not sure 4
(MoE: ±4.3%)

There is no silver lining in any of these numbers. Every single demographic group identified in SUSA’s cross tabs says they will vote for both of these amendments. That means self described Democrats and liberals. If we are going to have any chance whatsoever to defeat these amendments we must start with getting our ideological brethren on our side.

Democrats will have to be unified against these amendments to the same degree that Republicans are unified for them. That task began at the precinct caucus’s on Tuesday, but it will have to continue. What worries me is that if we have to get into the weeds on the details of all these different amendments with voters we aren’t going to get much headway.

In the end, what helps us most may be Republicans themselves. If they put even four amendments on the ballot, and especially if there’s more than that, it’s a lot easier to paint them all as a political power grab and run a vote no on everything campaign.

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