BY Julie Bolcer
September 23 2009 8:30 AM ET
A poll released on Tuesday showed that the vote in Washington on
Referendum 71, the measure that asks voters whether to approve or repeal the state’s expanded domestic-partnership
law, is going to be extremely close, with a narrow margin of
respondents saying they would pass the measure.
The poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research asked 569 likely voters in the November election if they would approve or reject Referendum 71. According to The Stranger, 51% of respondents said they would approve it, 44% said they would reject it, and 5% were undecided.
The tight margin could reflect the more conservative turnout of an off-year election, the specificity of the ballot language, or effective rhetoric from Referendum 71 opponents.
“The polling results appear to indicate that support for gay rights plummets when voters face specific ballot language, and that fewer gay rights supporters participate in off-year elections,” reported The Stranger. “Polling released by the University of Washington last October -- in a presidential election -- shows 66% of state voters support either full marriage equality or all the rights of marriage for same-sex couples. But today's poll could also suggest that Protect Marriage Washington, which gathered signatures to put the bill on the ballot, has successfully conflated the concept of domestic partnerships with gay marriage, which holds less public support.”