Thursday, January 16, 2014

GOP Marriage Amendment Poll Not Good News For HJR-3's Proponents

State House Rumors Say Bosma Plans To Remove Republicans Who Would Vote Against Amendment From Judiciary Committee
Proponents of enshrining Indiana's statutory ban on same-sex marriages are hailing the results of a new poll conducted on behalf of the Indiana State Republican Party that shows a small majority favoring a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The new poll results were released as members of the House Judiciary Committee ponder whether to send HJR-3 to the full House for consideration.

When read the language of the amendment as proposed by HJR-3, a survey of 800 Hoosier  Republican voters found that 53% supported the amendment. When the respondents were told that state law contains similar language, support for the amendment grew to 58%; however, when respondents were explained the literal meaning of the second sentence of the amendment, a clear majority, or 54%, opposed the amendment. That includes prohibiting legal recognition of civil unions and domestic partner benefits.

Proponents of HJR-3 are trying to soften the impact of that second sentence with a trailer bill that claims that's not what their intent is, but that explanation would render the second sentence of the amendment as meaningless, surplus language. In interpreting a provision of the constitution, the Indiana Supreme Court should not be able to read out of the constitution language based on some legislative statement passed by the legislature. A majority of the respondents indicated their belief that the legislature should remove the second sentence from the proposed amendment, a move rejected by the proponents who want the proposed amendment on the ballot this fall. If the amendment is rewritten, the view is that the amendment would need to be passed by the members elected to the next General Assembly before it can be presented to voters.

Equally as important is the poll's finding that at least 50% of the respondents don't consider HJR-3 as a very important legislative priority or not a priority at all for lawmakers to address this year. Only 21% of the respondents indicated that the issue of same-sex marriages will be the primary reason they cast a vote in the November election. The respondents were split over whether their legislator voting to place the issue on the ballot would make them more or less likely to support that legislative candidate. The biggest impact would come in a primary election where 68% of the respondents indicated that it would make a difference in how they voted if a candidate did not share their view on the issue. Only 35% said they would be more likely to support a candidate for re-election who supported putting the amendment on the ballot compared to 25% who indicated they would be less likely to support a candidate who voted to place the amendment on the ballot.

Looking at the issues with which the respondents were most concerned, the marriage amendment ranked near the bottom with only 35% as identifying it as a very important issue. By contrast, respondents felt much stronger about job creation (83%), public school funding (69%) and Medicaid funding (57%). Support for cutting business taxes came in near the bottom with 33% identifying it as a very important issue.

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony earlier this week but declined to take a vote on the amendment as anticipated. House Republicans now plan to put off a vote until next week. Rumors are circulating that three Republican members of the committee, Jerry Torr, Dan Leonard and Wendy McNamara, who have not publicly stated their position, are leaning in favor of voting against the amendment. If that occurs, the amendment would fail in committee because all four Democratic members appointed to the committee are opposed to it. There is some talk that House Speaker Brian Bosma, a supporter of the amendment, is threatening to replace any Republican member of the committee who would block its favorable passage out of the committee prior to the vote being taken. Perhaps the one aspect of the poll Republican leadership is using to influence the vote of their own caucuses is that a vote against the amendment could hurt their re-election chances if they face a primary challenge, even if it's not a particularly advantageous issue for them in the general election.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes, the party needs to lead on principles and quit running by polls.

If gay marriage isn't an evil the government should stop, nothing is.

When the gays say "marriage equality," they mean it. Once gay marriage is enshrined, they are going to shove it down our throats and demand full equality of it.

Lawsuits will be brought, school curricula revised, and the media will be awash in gay marriage equality.

Though people who would be gay married will only be a fraction of one percent of the population, they will demand that their <1% stands "equally" in all depictions with >99% of the marriages.

Gay marriage normalizes abnormal conduct.

A scant few noisome urban dwellers have greatly leveraged their power and are fast destroying this country.

Nick said...

Anonymous: Is that you, Ginny Cain?

Jeff said...

You failed to appropriately emphasize that the poll was only among Republicans. I was called for the poll since I am a registered Republican. When asked by the pollster if I was still a Republican, I responded that I was now Independent, and I was hung-up on.

In a 2012 Gallup poll, 44.2% of Hoosiers identified themselves as or leaning Republican. (A national Gallup poll on January 14, 2014 showed only 25% of Americans identify as Republican now).

So, about half of half of Hoosiers (who answered the poll) support the amendment.

Who gets to pay for all the resulting lawsuits? Everyone.

Gary R. Welsh said...

My bad, Jeff. Thanks for pointing out, which only further proves the point that this is not good news for the GOP advocacy of this amendment.

Unknown said...

Gay marriage is an evil? Wow, I can think of many things much more evil than two loving people wanting to get married. Gay people are not going anywhere. They have been around forever and will be around forever despite the evil done to them in the name of religion, etc. A gay couple may be different than you but that does not mean they deserve any less treatment for who they choose to love. Sorry, but in an equal society, as this site claims to support, two loving unrelated people should be able to decide who they wish to marry and should enjoy all the legal rights of such.