Another poll provides more evidence of how closely divided Marylanders are on same-sex marriage.
With a referendum on the issue expected this fall, the poll by the independent firm OpinionWorks found that 43 percent of registered voters would vote to make same-sex marriage illegal, while 40 percent would vote to make it legal.
The results fall within the margin of error, meaning the results are a statistical dead heat. The poll showed an additional 11 percent have no opinion or said they may not vote on the matter, and 5 percent intend to vote but are not sure how they feel.
Previous polls — including one in January by The Washington Post — have shown somewhat rosier results for same-sex marriage proponents.
The OpinionWorks survey includes some good news for both sides, however.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have an advantage in intensity. While 37 percent of Maryland voters “strongly” feel they will vote to make same-sex marriage illegal in Maryland, 31 percent of voters “strongly” feel they will vote to make it legal.
On the other hand, according to OpinionWorks, those who remain undecided tend to be slightly more Democratic and younger, and less religious than the population as a whole — all groups that lean toward making same-sex marriage legal.
A bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly would make same-sex marriage legal starting next year. Opponents are trying to collect enough petitions to force a public vote on the matter in November.
A Post poll in January — before the legislature acted — found that 50 percent of Marylanders support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry while 44 percent are opposed.
That was the highest recorded level of support in Maryland in a Post poll, and about the same for the rest of the country as measured by another recent Post survey, despite Maryland’s reputation as one of the nation’s most liberal states.
Another poll released in March by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a group that supports the new law, showed that 52 percent of respondents would “probably” or “definitely” vote for the same-sex marriage bill if it is on the ballot in November, while 44 percent would “probably” or “definitely” vote the measure down.
The poll was conducted for the advocacy group by Public Policy Polling.