Poll: Will People Who Skip Voting Decide the Election and Marriage Equality?

BY Lucas Grindley

November 01 2012 6:15 PM ET

What do all those people who are staying home on Election Day think about marriage equality?

Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in one form or another in four states — Washington, Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine. Voter turnout is always key, no matter the politican or referendum looking for a win. So one new poll looked at what the "nonvoters" think about candidates and issues.

When it gets close to Election Day, pollsters start ignoring "registered voters" and instead focus on "likely voters" and what they believe. But the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked nonvoters what is on their minds to see if there is a difference between the two groups.

On same-sex marriage, nonvoters are in favor of it at a rate the same as everyone else — 49% say it should be legal. But the percentage who oppose gays and lesbians getting married drops ever so slightly among nonvoters. The poll found 42% of likely voters oppose marriage equality, but just 36% of folks who are expected to stay home.

Of nonvoters, 15% have no opinion on the issue, while only 9% of likely voters don't have an opinion.

Pew points out that nonvoters, by their absence, could decide the election. President Obama, for example, is making a case to the many constituencies that made up his winning 2008 coalition. And Pew found that nonvoters are much more likely to support Obama than Romney, 59% to 24%.

Tags: Election

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