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.
Ha, right. I will wait until an independent poll comes out till I believe this. If I had put on my blog that a poll was released from anything but an independent sourse, you would have disregared it. You expect other people to do the same? I would love to see an independent poll done and then I will evaluate the numbers.
I love how the only poll you could find that was even close to 50% opposed to the amendment was “released” by marriage opponents. Great job.
Did you happen to look at the reference to the polling firms included in the press release? I think you would be hard pressed to argue that this polling team is something other than independent. I will provide the descriptions and links again:
You are, of course, free to believe whatever you like.
BTW, if you have information about another comparable poll (meaning similar sample size, statewide, likely voters) please feel free to post it here. We welcome any and all information.
Good to know your reading the blog! You did notice that the poll was among people who read the entire amendment. David has already noted that there are people who refuse to read it. I showed the language to Maggie Gallagher, and she stopped reading after the first paragraph, and told me she would vote yes. If Maggie doesn’t care what the second paragraph says, it’s pretty apparent that something is askew. Let’s try to understand this. Crafters of the language agonized over the second paragraph, and then they go out and tell voters not to read it. They’re telling people to follow them like blind sheep. That advice is not very conservative. It’s radical, undemocratic, and dangerous.
Sorry fellas, I am with hr_c here (big surprise… I know). What was the language of the full polling survey (notice how the question cited here begins with “My next question will appear on the ballot…”)? Where are the cross-tabs?
If you don’t even have this basic data how can you have faith in this poll unless it is blind faith (and I obviously wouldn’t put blind faith into anything coming out of the anti-Marriage Amendment Commonwealth Coalition… but that’s just me).
Regardless… I will agree that those of us working in support the Marriage Amendment SHOULD treat this as if it is accurate… we should be working like we’re 10 points behind you folks. We can take nothing for granted.
Anyways… thanks for posting this– I hadn’t seen it yet.
Oops… clearly I am not very good at HTML. Sorry! Only “next question” was intended to be in italics.
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The poll memo can be found here. What David has above is the press release which accompanied the poll memo. Very unlikely that either side is going to release the poll itself. No doubt the other side has done its own poll, with similar results, which is why not even a poll memo has been released.
Interesting theory Vivian (that the pro-Marriage Amendment side has a poll with similar results and is thus not releasing it)… however I’d disagree (and I must say I have absolutely no information on what, if any, polling may have been done by VA4Marriage or any other supporting organization- so this is just my speculation). The reason I’d disagree is because if in fact VA4Marriage did have a poll indicating a very tight race it would be in their interest to release it! We have the polar opposite problem you guys do in that we need to convince supporters/donors to get up and work/donate for the Marriage Amendment and not take simply assume it will pass by a comfortable margin… and showing that it was closer than many imagined would light a fire under folks. You guys need to convince your folks that there is hope and your efforts opposing the Marriage Amendment are not in vain… thus the need to release this poll (whether it is accurate is a wholly different question here- I am just looking at motives). Thus, in many ways this poll helps both sides motivate their respective grassroots (although many on the pro side are going to be skeptical given the source and lack of disclosure).
As to the poll itself I’d love to see the cross-tabs and without seeing them we really can’t know how credible it is. We also need to see the preceding question that clearly exists”¦ that will tell us if this is a Push Poll. Either way this will be a great motivating tool (for all of us, I assume)!
I really shouldn’t be posting this, as it would be more fun seeing you all act on faulty data, but you can’t change the sample methodology and then compare the two polls. You’re wasting your time.
Poll one is registered voters. Then you switch to likely voters, and get a different result. No kidding! And you think it’s because people are learning about the amendment? Tears of laughter stream!
It would be just as stupid if the results were reversed and you thought you were losing ground. You wouldn’t be. When you change the sample methodology, you throw out previous polls. The fact that they didn’t tells me they don’t know what they’re doing.
Interesting Insider… thank you!
Interesting comments, all. Thanks. I wonder if the problems the pro-amendment side is having with motivation aren’t due more to shifts in public opinion and less to a sense of complacency. Isn’t it possible that voters are just getting tired of being manipulated and used every election year? We’ve certainly seen the phenomenon of voters rejecting wedge issue campaigns in Virginia, and especially in Loudoun, the last couple of years. Maybe Virginians don’t want to get in line behind Alabama.
That theory would also seem to track more closely with national polls that show opposition to same sex marriage waning, particularly among older voters and Republican voters (see, for example the Pew survey discussed here).