Maryland voters remain nearly evenly divided over two high-profile issues that could be on decided in the November election, a new poll suggests.
Legalizing same-sex marriage and granting in-state college tuition breaks to illegal immigrants both split the electorate, according to the poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies.
The poll of likely Maryland voters found 49 percent favor legalizing same-sex marriage, while 47 percent say they are opposed.
That issue will be before the General Assembly again in the 90-day session that started last week. If a bill passes, both sides expect opponents to take advantage of a provision in Maryland that allows citizens to petition just-passed laws to the ballot.
A measure granting in-state tuition rates to certain illegal immigrants is already headed to the statewide ballot in November.
The Gonzales poll found 48 percent favor the so-called Dream Act, as it was described to them, while 49 percent are opposed.
The results on both issues are within the margin of error and similar to what Gonzales found in September.
The poll also found some good news in Maryland for President Obama. The percentage of Maryland voters who approve of the Democratic president’s job performance has rebounded to 55 percent, from 49 percent in September.
With the exception of a poll taken just as Obama came into office in 2009, his current mark is consistent with his standing in Maryland, a reliably blue state, for much of his term.
Job approval for Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) stood at 53 percent in the poll, up a single percentage point since September.
The poll also provided some interesting news on the economy. Marylanders still identify that issue as the most important facing the state. But the percentage who did so fell below 50 percent for the first time in two years, Gonzales said.
The telephone poll of 808 registered voters who vote regularly was conducted between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15 and said to have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.