Gay Marriage | News | Polls | Rhode Island

Poll: Nearly 6 of 10 in Rhode Island Support Marriage Equality

A new poll out of Rhode Island shows that 59% of voters support marriage equality:

Ri "The poll, with a sample size of 500 registered voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, found overall support for same-sex marriage in Rhode Island had grown 10 points since 2008 while opposition dropped 6 points. The increase among those who identified themselves as Roman Catholic was higher, at 12 points. When asked, “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally?” 59 percent of respondents were in favor and 31 percent were opposed. In 2008, 49 percent were in favor and 37 percent opposed. Answer choices were: Strongly favor, somewhat favor, strongly oppose, somewhat oppose, don’t know or no answer. When pollsters clarified the question pertained to civil marriages and that church and state would remain separate, 66 percent said they would favor legalizing same-sex marriage, with 28 percent saying they opposed it. Among those who identified themselves as Catholics, 63 percent said they would favor it, 32 percent said they oppose it."

Marriage equality bills have stalled in the legislature every year since 1997, the Providence Journal reports. Additionally, the measure is vehemently opposed by outgoing Governor Donald Carcieri, a NOM supporter who has even crossed state lines to speak out against same-sex marriage.

Democratic candidates running for Carcieri's office have pledged support for marriage equality.

Check out the poll results, AFTER THE JUMP...

Rhode Island gay marriage poll 8/18/2010


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  1. IIRC correctly, Lincoln Chafee, running as an Independent, also supports marriage equality in Rhode Island.

    "A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Caprio earning 38% support to Chafee’s 32%. If John Robitaille is the Republican nominee in the race, he trails with 20% of the vote. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, while eight percent (8%) are undecided."

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Aug 20, 2010 10:01:03 AM

  2. What a nice bit of news!

    Posted by: Mike in Asheville | Aug 20, 2010 10:07:30 AM

  3. I hope this poll is accurate, but 500 people out of one million just isn't a strong enough indicator.

    "...a Democratic polling firm based in Washington, D.C., that conducted the poll in July." So did they just call up Democrats on this issue? Which towns were called? Small towns, big towns? Bigger towns are usually more liberal. With such a small sample, a great deal of bias is possible depending on which part of the state is contacted. Like I said, I hope the poll is accurate.

    Poll 5,000 people all across the entire state, then we'll talk.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Aug 20, 2010 10:55:32 AM

  4. The other thing to remember is we consistently do several points worse than we poll any time this stuff actually comes to a vote. Because before any election, the Catholic Church starts devoting sermons to it, and anyone who is remotely swayable comes down on their side. So you need to subtract 5-10 points from where we poll. The progress is good news, but the support is a lot shallower than people think. Because for most people, it simply doesn't affect them directly, so it's not going to be a priority.

    Posted by: BGKev | Aug 20, 2010 11:08:36 AM

  5. @BGKEV

    True, but 59% is very strong support; even if you subtract ~5-10% that
    s still more or less a majority of Rhode Islanders.

    And the support from Catholics is at 63%.

    And I think that any referedum or initiative would probably need the approval of the legislature prior to getting to the voters, so it may be more of a matter of what the legislature does.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Aug 20, 2010 11:15:56 AM

  6. Chitown Kev is correct, Rhode Island has no mechanism for referendum without legislative approval.

    Also, the legislature is 90% Democrats and the Speaker of the House is openly gay. So if either the Democrat (polling 38) or the Independent (polling 32) beat the guy polling in the low 20s, there will be marriage equality in Rhode Island in 2011.

    Posted by: Tyler | Aug 20, 2010 11:22:29 AM

  7. Both NOM and our side know that passage of marriage equality legislation in Rhode Island is a virtual certainty. There is broad public support, Dems hold overwhelming majorities in both houses of the state legislature and the new governor (Caprio or Chafee) will have repeatedly indicated his intention to sign the legislation. The main obstacle to passage in recent years has been the right-wing governor and that obstacle will have been removed by January. The only conceivable hurdle is that the Dem leader in the state house has not been supportive of equality but it's hard to imagine her blocking a vote in her chamber when there is such overwhelming support for equality among her colleagues and constituents.

    So Rhode Island will make 6. As Evan Wolfson and others have reminded us, it is not enough to just sit back and expect federal judges to do all the heavy lifting in this struggle. Our chances for a favorable decision should the Supreme Court ever decide whether the Constitution prohibits discriminatory marriage laws will simply be better if more States have enacted equality by that time. To that end, the most important elections this fall (and NOM knows it very well and is spending lots of money in these races) in the nationwide struggle to advance marriage equality are the governor race in Minnesota, the September Democratic primary for Governor of Hawaii, the governor's race in Maryland, state senate races in New York, the governor's race in New Mexico and, to a lesser extent, the governor's race in Illinois. We could see marriage equality in Minnesota, in particular, in the next couple of years if we win the governor's race there this November. For all those who understandably are hesitant to donate to the DNC for fear that some of their money will go to anti-equality Dems, get involved in these races. Here's the website for our candidate in Minnesota, who is a strong supporter of marriage equality:

    Posted by: Patric | Aug 20, 2010 11:36:28 AM

  8. I just hope our douche bag governor doesn't do anything that will take years of legal discussion and wrangling to undo. I wholly expect him to make a parting shot at the MERI (Marriage Equality Rhode Island) by, like, imposing an executive order banning gay marriage debate until 2050.

    Posted by: Rad | Aug 20, 2010 12:43:34 PM

  9. Gallup just released an analysis of people political ideology by state. Rhode Island has the largest percentage of any state where people identify themselves a liberal [32%] (below Washington DC [42%]). A higher percent that Massachusetts and Connecticut which already have marriage equality. They just need to dump their Governor.

    Posted by: Charlie | Aug 20, 2010 3:41:19 PM

  10. Don't fret too hard about the douchecanoe, Rad. Any executive order can be overridden by another executive order in January.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 20, 2010 5:25:54 PM

  11. "...a sample size of 500 registered voters," which is roughly 93% of Rhode Island's population....

    Posted by: Gay Texas | Aug 20, 2010 6:36:58 PM

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