Two polls on gay marriage, one at KCCI Channel 8 (Des Moines’ CBS affiliate) and the other at The Des Moines Register, The Register also released their Iowa Republican Gubernatorial Primary Iowa Poll.
Looking at the gay marriage polls first…
KCCI claims that a majority of Iowans support same-sex marriage with 53% saying they favor it with 41% opposed. They don’t include a link unlike their Governor’s race and Senate race poll (also just released) that shows details like sample size, party breakdown, gender breakdown, etc.
I have a hard time believing that it isn’t the same polling company, Research 2000, that conducted that poll. It doesn’t make sense to commission two separate polls when you could just ask additional questions while you have people on the phone. If that is the case I’ve already pointed out problems with that particular poll, and the recent track record that company has had. They have been off the beaten track on numerous occasions, compared to other polling done.
Regardless of whether KCCI, Research 2000, or some other company did the polling, I have a hard time believing that Iowa is more liberal than Maine, California, or the 31 states that have voted in favor of the traditional definition of marriage. Recent polling has suggested that Iowa still is a center-right state, so this poll is fishy. The last polling done by The Des Moines Register showed that Iowa was pretty split so this is a pretty hefty leap in just six months.
Then for those who wonder where Iowa’s likely Republican voters land on this issue, you have the Register’s Iowa Poll which resoundingly states that this is an important issue for them, as you can see the chart below. Unfortunately it tells us nothing about where all voters likely stand.
The Register describes the poll:
The Iowa Poll, conducted for The Des Moines Register by Selzer & Co. Inc. of Des Moines, is based on interviews with 1,793 Iowans ages 18 or older, of which 501 said they would definitely vote in the June 2010 Republican primary election. Interviewers contacted households with randomly selected telephone numbers. The full sample of 1,793 respondents was adjusted for age and sex based on recent Census reports. Questions asked of the 501 likely Republican primary voters have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
While this should lay to rest the meme that this issue isn’t important to the party, 77% say otherwise, and 62% say that same-sex marriage opponents have not over-reacted. At the same time the same sample polled favor Governor Terry Branstad over Bob Vander Plaats by a 2 to 1 margin.
A couple of likely reasons for this, while the same-sex marriage issue is important, jobs and the economy are the pressing issue. I think that is a given. Those polled trust Governor Branstad with Iowa’s economy and fiscal matters, they also feel he is the one who has the best chance of beating Governor Chet Culver. It is hard to advance this issue if Culver retains his seat.
There could also satisfaction that he is on the right side of this issue, at least personally and also demonstrated by his signing the Defense of Marriage Act. I feel at worst he’ll be neutral on this issue which still makes him better than Culver. Governor Branstad if he wins, and he beats Culver in all head-to-head polls I’ve seen, needs to keep the Register’s gay marriage poll in mind. It is an important issue.
I admit the Governor’s poll isn’t good news for my guy, Rod Roberts or for Bob Vander Plaats. I am encouraged that 55% of people could still change their vote – that is pretty significant. I have also said before the only poll that counts is the one that takes place this Tuesday and then in November. Nothing will be done on gay marriage or sound fiscal policy if the current make up of the General Assembly and the current resident at Terrace Hill remain the same.