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Some items of interest from a odd poll

Timothy Kincaid

June 7th, 2010

Last week a poll in Iowa conducted by a Des Moines television station reported that a majority of Iowans support marriage equality, a finding that appears difficult to believe. Now an oddly conducted poll from the Des Moines Register adds to the picture.

On the face of it, the polling data might seem negative. And, were this of the population as a whole, this might be quite troubling. But it’s not a poll of Iowans, it’s a polling of Republican Iowans who intend to vote in Tuesday’s primary. I have no idea why the Register didn’t get the opinions of Democrats or independents, but we’re stuck with what they gave us.

Here’s what they found:

More than three-quarters of Iowans planning to vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary say Iowans should have a chance to vote on changing the constitution specifically to ban gay marriage.

But the same consensus does not exist for ousting Iowa Supreme Court judges who voted last year to invalidate Iowa’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage.

And one-third of the poll respondents say that some Iowans have overreacted on the issue, and that gay marriage in the state is just not that big a deal.

Voter analysts will tell you that primary voters tend towards the more committed end of a party, those who feel most connected to the reasons for their registration selection. They also tend to be older, especially in a non-presidential election. So it is fair to say that “Republican primary voters” is among the more conservative polling demographics that could be selected.

And now that Iowans have lived with marriage equality for a year, 35% of Republican primary voters think that “having gay marriage in Iowa is just not that big a deal.” And that’s kind of a big deal.

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