Minnesota marriage amendment "looks like a toss up," says new poll of likely voters

Who's to be believed? It depends on whether you think unlikely-to-vote Minnesotans should be included in the polling.
Who's to be believed? It depends on whether you think unlikely-to-vote Minnesotans should be included in the polling.

-- Minnesota marriage amendment supported by 50 percent, opposed by 43, new poll says
-- Support growing for gay marriage in Minnesota, new polling suggests
-- Marriage amendment means it's a great time to be in Minnesota's media business

Polling is an inexact science, ya'll.

Yesterday, we told you about a SurveyUSA poll that found 50 percent of Minnesotans support the state's proposed same-sex marriage ban, compared to 43 percent opposed. Now today, a new Public Policy Polling survey concludes that the amendment vote "looks like a toss up." So what gives?

From PPP:

PPP's newest poll on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota finds it virtually tied, with 48% of voters supporting the ban to 47% who oppose it [the margin of error is 3.4 percent]. In January we found 48/44 support for the ban, while in June we found 49/43 opposition. It looks like a toss up.

Women (52/41), Democrats (78/16), and voters under 45 (50/45) all oppose the ban. Men (55/41), Republicans (80/17), independents (51/42), and seniors (53/40) all support it in greater numbers though.

What accounts for the disparity between the SurveyUSA and PPP results? One difference between their respective methodologies is that SurveyUSA surveys adult Minnesotans whether or not they're likely to vote, whereas PPP limits its sample to "likely Minnesota voters." So if it's assumed that the unlikely-to-vote Minnesotans polled by SurveyUSA are largely opposed to the marriage amendment, then PPP's numbers may actually represent a better picture of what the results would be if the election happened today.

Though the predictive value of polls is arguable, their political value is not. Just minutes after PPP's new results were released, Minnesotans United for All families offered up this tweet:

For PPP's full results, including the latest about the voter ID amendment (almost certain to be approved), the popularity of Minnesota's leading Republicans (still on par with the popularity of cold viruses), and even the popularity of Gardy (surprisingly strong), click here.

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