Poll: DREAM Act, gay marriage too close to call

Matthew Newman at Old Line Elephant has posted the results of a Baltimore Sun/Opinion Works poll which showed three of the four main ballot questions in Maryland within the margin of error. According to Newman, Question 4 (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) is leading 47% for and 45% against, Question 5 (redistricting) has 36% for and 33% against, Question 6 (gay marriage) is 46% for and 47% against, and Question 7 is failing by a 39-54 margin. So it’s all going to depend on turnout.

Newman also notes that the three previously polled questions (4, 5, and 7) have all trended in the right direction, especially Question 6. It was up 10 points a month ago but now trails.

But the accompanying Sun story shows the amount of misinformation still out there. For example, one Question 6 supporter said “the key to her decision to vote yes on Question 6 is ‘the fact that religious personnel are not required to marry people if it is against their beliefs.’” That’s not true, as Section 3 (a) of the law states:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization, association, or society, may not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request for the services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to:

(1) the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs; or

(2) the promotion of marriage through any social or religious programs or services, in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs, unless State or federal funds are received for that specific program or service. (Emphasis mine.)

So regardless of their feelings, the moment a church or religious organization takes a dime of government money they are placed into a position similar to those of religious organizations who don’t want to pay for coverage of birth control.

The Sun also finds a voter misinformed on Question 4:

“…in recent weeks she has moved from undecided to supporting the measure. What she’s learned about the eligibility requirements for in-state tuition has convinced her the program would not be a giveaway to immigrants.

‘It seems like they have to jump through a number of hoops. I’m beginning to lean toward it,’ she said. ‘You have to prove you’ve been contributing toward the system and to me that’s important.‘ (Emphasis mine.)

In truth, the student or family only has to file a return – for all we know, they could squeeze thousands more dollars out of the system by getting money back. So that’s two misinformed voters who potentially are voting the wrong way.

Yet the trends are encouraging, because not only do the voters have the chance to kill off several bad laws but also send a message to the General Assembly that they’ve gone too far in changing the state of Maryland.

Comments

2 Responses to “Poll: DREAM Act, gay marriage too close to call”

  1. David Zwald on October 29th, 2012 12:27 am

    There is also another important distinction regarding the rationale for voting AGAINST Question 6…a VERY important one, yet subtle. The new law says that the religious organization does not have to perform the wedding services if it is against their belief. But consider: The religious organization ALREADY has that right under the Maryland and Federal Constitution. So, therefore, a law that would explicitly say they don’t have to comply, could one day, be changed. It is a dangerous precedent. Vote NO on Question 6 to protect religious liberty.

  2. Kevin Waterman on October 30th, 2012 9:10 am

    David,

    That doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. As you note, religious liberty is already a protected right. The inclusion of further explicit protection was only included in the law to placate social conservatives who insisted this would somehow infringe upon individual liberty (even though they were already protected by the state and federal constitutions as you noted).

    As such, removing that provision from the law wouldn’t leave religious institutions any less protected, the constitutions would still be in force and any effort to compel a church to marry a same-sex couple would still run afoul of those protections and have their suit fail in court.

    I’m not seeing any threat to religious liberty in Question 6.

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