ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A statewide poll by St. Cloud State University found that marginally more people oppose than support next year’s constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The school’s 2011 statewide survey, released Thursday, showed 47 percent of those polled do not support amending the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It found 44 percent in support of the proposal, while 9 percent are undecided or refused to answer.
The poll conducted Oct. 16-27 has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. St. Cloud State’s political science department- which surveyed 626 randomly selected Minnesota residents by phone- has produced the annual survey for several decades.
Voters statewide will weigh in next November on the marriage amendment. Gay marriage is already illegal under state law, but supporters of the amendment say the constitutional protection is needed to protect the traditional definition of marriage against judicial rulings and future legislatures. Opponents say it’s unneeded, divisive and hurtful to gay people.
The St. Cloud State poll attempted to weigh views on the marriage amendment against the religious views of respondents. When adjusted for religion’s importance in the lives of respondents, the poll found 57 percent of those who called religion important in their lives were in favor of the amendment; while 29 percent who said religion was not important said they believed the constitution should be amended.
The survey also found President Barack Obama leading all potential Republican candidates for president in Minnesota, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney registering the strongest numbers against the president. In a direct matchup, Obama earned support from 45 percent compared to 39 percent for Romney; against businessman Herman Cain, Obama pulled in 47 percent support compared to 36 percent. Against home-state U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Obama scored support from 53 percent while Bachmann was supported by 25 percent of those polled.
Overall, Obama won support from 41 percent of respondents who rated his performance as excellent or pretty good, a slight uptick from his 38 percent approval rating from the 2010 survey. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton scored support from 45 percent of respondents who rated his performance as excellent or pretty good.
In response to Minnesota’s government shutdown of last summer, just 18 percent of respondents pinned the primary blame on Dayton while 55 percent said Republicans who control the Legislature are mainly responsible. Eighteen percent said both parties were responsible.