If you take the history of the Minnesota Poll as any indication, yesterday’s numbers on the Marriage Amendment might be encouraging for amendment supporters:
The increasingly costly and bitter fight over a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is a statistical dead heat, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Six weeks before Election Day, slightly more Minnesotans favor the amendment than oppose it, but that support also falls just short of the 50 percent needed to pass the measure.
Wow. That sounds close!
But as always with these polls, you have to check the fine print. And the “Minnesota Poll” buries its fine print in a link well down the page; you don’t ever actually find it in the story itself. And it contains the partisan breakdown (with emphasis added):
The self-identified party affiliation of the random sample is: 41 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 31 percent independent or other.
That’s right – to get this virtual tie, the Strib, in a state that just went through photo-finish elections for Governor and Senator, and has been on the razor’s edge of absolute equality between parties for most of a decade, sampled three Democrats for every two Republicans to get to a tie.
If you believe – as I do – that the “Minnesota Poll” is first and foremost a DFL propaganda tool, intended largely to create a ‘bandwagon effect” to suppress conservative turnout (and we’ll come back to that), then this is good news; the Marriage Amendment is likely doing better than the poll is showing.
What it does mean, though, is that they are working to build a narrative; that the battle over gay marriage is much more closely-fought than it is.
And the narrative’s players are already on board with this poll. The Strib duly interviews Richard Carlbom, the former Dayton staffer who is leading the anti-Amendment
Actually, here’s my bet; the November 4 paper will show a “surge of support” that turns out to be much larger than any that actually materializes at the polls.
More At Noon.
UPDATE: I wrote this piece on Sunday. Monday morning, all of the local newscasts duly led with “both ballot initiatives are tied!”.
If you’re trying to find a construction job in Minnesota, you can get a job putting siding on the DFL’s narrative.
UPDATE 2: Professor David Schultz at Hamline University – no friend of conservatism, he – did something I more or less planned to do on Wednesday; re-ran the numbers with a more realistic partisan breakdown:
Why is the partisan adjustment important? The poll suggests significant partisan polarization for both amendments, with 73% of DFLers opposing the marriage amendment and 71% of GOPers supporting. Similar partisan cleavages also exist with the Elections Amendment. If this is true, take the marriage Amendment support at 49% and opposition at 47%. If DFLers are overpolled by 3% and GOP underpolled by 6%, and if about 3/4 of each party votes in a partisan way, I would subtract about 2.25% from opposition (3% x .75) and add 4.5% to support (6% x .75) and the new numbers are 53.5% in support and 44.75% against. This is beyond margin or error.
If one applies the correction to the Elections Amendment there is about an 80% DFL opposition to it and a similar 80% GOP support for it. Then the polls suggest approximately 56.8% support it and 41.6% oppose.
Which brings us very nearly back to the 3:2 margin for the Voter ID amendment, and the tight but solid lead for the Marriage Amendment that every other poll – the reputable ones, anyway – have found.