If the polls are to be believed, North Carolina will become the 30th state — and the last Southern state — to etch discrimination into its state constitution by banning same-sex marriage. Actually, the prohibition would be pretty draconian since it would affect civil unions and domestic partnerships, as well. But there may be some glimmers of hope in the impending defeat.

The Human Rights Campaign did an analysis of all the data surrounding the previous ballot initiatives. According to the nation’s largest gay rights organization, proponents of marriage equality could be “losing forward,” depending on how the votes come in in the Tar Heel State. So here’s what to look for:

The percentage of the vote

HRC says the average for all of the constitutional amendments has been 67 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed. The average vote of 11 Southern states with amendments was 75 percent. Overall, Mississippi had the highest vote in favor of such an amendment (86 percent) and Arizona had the lowest vote at 48 Where might North Carolina fall?  

The percentage of those voting

HRC says that the average percentage of voters approving constitutional amendments has dropped from 71 percent in 2004 to 57 percent in 2008. Again, where might North Carolina fall?

HRC believes that the “trend line clearly represents the growth of public support for marriage equality.” Tonight, we’ll find out if North Carolina continues or bucks this trend.