Breaking news from the Commonwealth Coalition…
This does not mean defeating the amendment will be a cakewalk, folks. What it does mean is that if we educate the voters and get them to read the whole thing, we can win. Given the stakes – and it’s now clear we can’t rely on the courts to protect our rights – I’d say it’s worthwhile to do everything in our power to make that happen, wouldn’t you?
New Poll Finds Only a Minority Supports Marshall/Newman Amendment;
54% of Likely Voters Are No or Undecided
(Richmond, VA) Today, The Commonwealth Coalition released findings from a recent statewide poll of likely Virginia voters that shows significant erosion in support for the Marshall/Newman amendment. A 23% lead last summer deteriorated to a “virtual statistical dead heat” when voters were read the actual language that will be on the ballot in the fall. 54% of likely voters now say they will vote NO or are undecided. Support for the amendment is now well below 50%.
“The difference in these results comes simply from voters’ common sense reading of the fine print in this ill-considered proposal,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Campaign Manager for The Coalition. Gastañaga continued, “Virginians who actually read the whole amendment see that it opens a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences, and they don’t want to do that.”
“Our challenge now is to be sure voters know to read the fine print before they vote,” Gastañaga said. “If they do, we are confident that they will vote NO to this far reaching proposal to write discrimination into Virginia’s bill of rights and intrude the government into our private lives.”
The findings released by The Coalition today were from a survey of 800 likely voters conducted in late June and are set out in the attached confidential memo to the campaign from Schapiro Research Group and Fabrizio McLaughlin & Associates, the bi-partisan polling team that conducted the research for The Coalition.
Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates, headed by Tony Fabrizio, is widely recognized as one of the leading GOP polling firms and public opinion experts in the country. Fabrizio, who has polled for successful political campaigns around the globe, has worked for more than a dozen U.S. Senators, numerous Governors and scores of Congressman including serving as chief pollster for Bob Dole’s 1996 Presidential run.
Schapiro Research Group, Inc. is headed by Beth Schapiro, Ph.D, who grew up in Richmond. SRG develops strategies for decision-makers in business, politics, and policy through innovative applied social research. The firm has advised several current and former members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, including Viola O. Baskerville and C. Richard Cranwell.
The Commonwealth Coalition is a diverse group of individuals, businesses, and civic, community and religious organizations that have joined together to oppose the Marshall/Newman amendment to the Virginia bill of rights that will be Ballot Question #1 on November 7, 2006.
The Marshall/Newman amendment would write discriminatory language into Virginia’s Bill of Rights that would have far-reaching, unknown and unintended consequences for all unmarried Virginians, including straight couples, young and old.