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Target Voters in the Fight for Equality

December 6, 2009

Nate Silver has come back to the issue of Question 1 in Maine in a recent post looking at both his model that predicted the outcome incorrectly and the actual issue.  The most interesting distinction is below.  I think it says something about people’s uncertainty on the issue and I think it shows that people understand that the Constitution is not something that you change lightly.  The whole post is interesting, even if you’re not interested in statistical models.

Now, compare these numbers to those that we described earlier. Whereas a 54 percent majority opposes an amendment to ban gay marriage (versus 40 percent in favor), a 53 percent majority — between the last nine national polls — also oppose allowing gay marriage (versus 42 percent in favor).

What that means is that there’s a “swing vote” of about 10 percent of the electorate that is not yet ready to allow gay marriage, but is also not willing to ban it (at least not Constitutionally). This is enough to tip the national balance on the question of gay marriage. And it may have tipped the balance in Maine. Question 1 did not actually ban gay marriage but rather overturned the legislature’s affirmation of it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. George permalink
    December 6, 2009 10:52 pm

    so does this mean that if those 10 % really understood that regardless of how they felt about “gay marriage” as a pair of words, they would have voted to leave it on the books if they understood that gay folks couldn’t get the same constitutional rights without using the word “marriage”–and would have voted “no”?

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