New Jerseyans now oppose gay marriage, poll finds

Fri. November 27, 2009 12:00 AM by

A new poll found New Jersey voters oppose gay marriage, arriving at the opposite conclusion of a poll released in April.
The poll released Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows New Jersey voters narrowly oppose legalizing gay marriage by a 49 to 46 margin.

The poll of 1,615 New Jersey voters disagrees with two earlier polls.

Last week's Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of 903 adults found a narrow majority of New Jerseyans supported gay marriage, as did an April Quinnipiac University poll by 6 points.

"When we asked about gay marriage in April it won narrow approval. Now that it seems closer to a legislative vote, it loses narrowly with the public," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institution, said in a statement.

Proponents of gay marriage believe they have one last opening to approve the legislation before Governor Jon Corzine leaves office in mid-January and is replaced by Republican Chris Christie, a gay marriage opponent who supports a gay marriage ban.

Once in office, Christie would represent a formidable obstacle to passage.

Legislators opened their lame-duck session on Monday but the gay marriage bill has yet to appear on the agenda. Several Democratic lawmakers also seem to have shifted from the affirmative to the undecided column. Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, who will become Senate president in January, told the New York Times that several lawmakers view Governor Corzine's loss as a referendum against gay marriage.

Gay marriage foes are also at work in the state. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, launched a $500,000 anti-gay marriage ad blitz in New Jersey Monday.

Wednesday's poll found independent voters and men had a change of heart.

"The biggest drop is among independent voters, who backed the measure 50 – 41 percent in April," Carroll said. "And opposition among men spiked from 48 – 44 percent opposed to 57 – 38 percent."

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