August 19th, 2010
Greenburg Quinlan Rosler has conducted a poll of
Maine Rhode Island residents for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders about marriage attitudes in Rhode Island. Although this is a gay-sponsored poll and I have a problem with one part, it does not appear to be conducted in a way that would provide significantly invalid results.
The first 15 questions were either demographic or related to general political issues. Then there were several questions on gay issues. The first three were:
Now, I’d like to rate your feelings toward some people and organizations, with one hundred meaning a VERY WARM, FAVORABLE feeling; zero meaning a VERY COLD, UNFAVORABLE feeling; and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to one hundred, the higher the number the more favorable your feelings are toward that person or organization. If you have no opinion or never heard of that person or organization, please say so.
16. Gay and lesbian people
45% responded with warm feelings
18% responded with cool feelings
61% the average response number
17. Gay rights groups
35% responded with warm feelings
27% responded with cool feelings
52% the average response number
18. Currently there is a bill being considered in the State General Assembly that would allow equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. Churches, clergy and other religious institutions would NOT be required to perform same-sex marriages. Do you favor or oppose this bill?
34% – Strongly favor
23% – Somewhat favor
12% – Somewhat oppose
20% – Strongly oppose
10% – (Don’t know/refused)
I’m not sure to what extent that the warm/cold questions influenced the answers on marriage. As they were not particularly leading, I doubt by much. And “allow equal access to marriage” is somewhat more likely to yield positive results than “allow same-sex couples to legally marry”, but again this may not be consequential.
However, I do think that reminding participants that religious institutions are not required to perform same-sex marriages can play a roll in driving polling results. Though on an issue this divided, perhaps not by more than five or six points and then likely would mostly show movement between the “favors” and “don’t knows”.
So even with this poll’s flaws, I think it is probably fair to say that a majority of Rhode Islanders support marriage equality and that opposition to same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is weak.
And probably the most important contributor to the support in Rhode Island is found in question 30:
Do you personally know or work with someone who is gay or lesbian?
79% – Yes
19% – No
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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