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Support growing for gay marriage in Minnesota, new polling suggests

Mark Dayton dreams of Vikings stadiums and Minnesota becoming the first state to vote down a constitutional amendment against gay rights. This year, both dreams may be fulfilled.

A new SurveyUSA poll suggests there is more support for gay marriage in Minnesota than there was four or six months ago.

However, rather than directly asking Minnesotans for their opinions about gay marriage or the constitutional amendment, pollsters opted for an Obama-related question that makes it more difficult to analyze the survey results, namely: "President Obama says that same-sex couples should be able to get married. Do you agree with the president? Or disagree?"

As the Minnesota Progressive Project notes:

Support growing for gay marriage in Minnesota, new polling suggests
Survey USA
Even though they would seem to be the same thing, these are in fact two different things; to agree or disagree with President Obama about his stance on same sex marriage and to vote yes or no (or not vote) on the actual amendment that will be on the ballot.

52 percent of respondents said they agree with the president, while 42 were opposed. Six percent were "not sure." The poll's margin of error is 4.4 percent.

Compare that with earlier results. In late January, Public Policy Polling found that the amendment is "headed for a close vote," with 48 percent of voters in favor of banning same-sex marriage and 44 percent opposed. A November Star Tribune poll found an almost identical 48-43 split. So it appears momentum is building in the pro-gay rights direction, even if SurveyUSA's question raises doubt about how the results should be interpreted.

If you need a refresher, the amendment before Minnesota voters this November will ask "whether only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota." That's obviously a lot different than what SurveyUSA asked.

Perhaps we should recognize the power of the president's words and the governor's dreams. Combined, they've arguably been enough to swing some Minnesotans toward support of the gay rights cause.

Related gay marriage in Minnesota coverage:
-- Bachmann renounces citizenship in gay-friendly Switzerland, blasts Obama for backing gay marriage
-- DeLeSalle student, during anti-gay school assembly, holds up sign: "I love my moms"
-- Marriage amendment means it's a great time to be in Minnesota's media business
-- Twin Cities Archbishop: Same-sex marriage ban not debatable


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