Survey Finds Half of Virginians Supports Gay Marriage Across Party Lines; McAuliffe in the Lead
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A Quinnipiac University survey released today revealed 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage and only 43 percent do not. The survey also found that Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the governor’s race.
The survey is the first to come out of Quinnipiac since The US Supreme Court decisions to strike down both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Califronia’s Proposition 8. Before the decisions, Prop 8 had banned same-sex marriage in California and DOMA had denied a number of federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The poll conducted by the Connecticut-based university found divides in opinion, most notably in gender. The survey claims that women support same-sex marriage 55 – 39 percent whereas men disapprove of it 49 – 43 percent. The poll also shows that Democrats were most supportive of gay marriage, approving at 68 – 26 percent and Independents at 52–39 percent. Republicans were found to be in opposition at 68–26 percent.
Virginia Catholics were also found to be in favor of gay marriage 56 percent to 40 percent. Protestants and born-again evangelicals were found to be in opposition as well, by 57 percent and 74 percent respectively.
Voter age also seems to have a strong correlation with support for gay marriage rights, with respondents 18 to 29 backing same-sex marriage by 74 percent. Those in the 30 to 44 age range also support it by 52 percent, but those 45 and older are strongly opposed.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the survey reflects on the changing attitudes of Virginians who had previously been found to oppose gay marriage. Back in 2006 when Virginia passed it’s same-sex marriage ban, Virginians were found to support the ban on same-sex marrige by 57 percent.
The Quinnipiac survey also found Democrat Terry McAullife leads Republic Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia Governor’s race by 43–39 percent. A gender gap is also found here, with McAuliffe having the women’s vote 48–32 percent. This gender gap could be partially attributed to Cuccinelli’s litigation in his current term as Attorney General where he has attempted to close women’s health clinics throughout the state. Men were found to be in favor of Cuccinelli, with registered male voters responding in favor, 46 to 38 percent.
According to the survey, respondents seem to be largely unfamiliar with either political ticket in this year’s election. Fifty percent of respondents said they don’t know enough about McAuliffe, who served as Democratic National Committee chairman, to have an actual view of him. 36 percent said they didn’t know enough about Cuccinelli either. Prior to being elected as the state’s Attorney General, Cuccinelli served in the Virginia Sentate representing Fairfax County.
While McAulliffe has a narrow lead in these current polls, the large unfamiliarity with either ticket gives room for either party to take the lead before the November election.
More than 80 percent of the respondents reported that they are unfamiliar with Democrat Sen. Mark Herring and Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain, the candidates running for attorney general. Virginia voters are even more so unaware of the candidates running for lieutenant governor, with 81 percent not having heard enough about Republican E.W. Jackson and 90 percent being unfamiliar with Democrat Sen. Ralph Northam.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,030 registered Virginia voters between July 11 – 15. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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