Dome: Latest poll shows gap narrowing in marriage amendment vote

jfrank@newsobserver.comApril 25, 2012 

The constitutional amendment on marriage appears poised to pass, but a new poll shows support slipping two weeks before the May 8 primary.

The Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday shows 54 percent of primary voters support making marriage between one man and one woman the only legal union recognized in North Carolina – down four percentage points from a month ago.

Black voters favor the amendment 51 to 39 percent, and even Democratic primary voters are split evenly. The referendum needs a majority for approval.

Opposition increased slightly, to 40 percent from 38 percent, which is within the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of sampling error, according to PPP, a left-leaning polling firm based in Raleigh.

The survey shows that more primary voters are starting to understand the amendment would ban gay marriage as well as prohibit legal recognition of same-sex civil unions and opposite-sex domestic partnerships. But 10 percent still erroneously think approval would legalize gay marriage and 27 percent are unsure what it would do.

The pro-amendment side on Tuesday released its first statewide TV ad. It opens with scenes of newlyweds and families, with a bit of an emphasis on African-American couples, appearing to target that demographic’s apparent support for the amendment.

Tuesday was also a day of dueling endorsements. The state’s three bishops leading Episcopal churches came out against it, and Newt Gingrich released a video supporting it.

N.C. delegation ‘protectionist’

A new report shows that North Carolina’s congressional delegation is increasingly voting against free-trade agreements.

The report by the conservative Heritage Foundation found that N.C. House members voted 8-4 for NAFTA in 1993, 7-5 for the World Trade Organization in 1994, 8-4 against the China PNTR in 2000, 7-6 against Panama Free Trade Agreement in 2011, 7-6 in favor of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement in 2011, 10-2 against CAFTA in 2005, and 12-1 against the Korean Free Trade Agreement in 2011.

This is a trend that the Heritage Foundation, which supports free trade, finds troublesome.

“North Carolina has a long and honorable record of support for open markets, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs for its citizens,” writes Bryan Riley. “But more recently, when it comes to significant trade policy, North Carolina’s congressional delegation seems to be rejecting that heritage.”

Riley said some 200,000 North Carolinians owe their jobs to direct foreign investment – 50,000 people manufacture good destined for foreign markets; 40,000 people work at the state’s ports; 530,000 people work at places where foreign goods are sold.

He said the Business Roundtable reports that 1,500 North Carolina jobs depend on exports to South Korea alone.

The Heritage Foundation found that the North Carolina delegation has “been among the most protectionist in the country.’’

NRA backs Democrat Kissell

Here is a reason why Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell may not be a pushover, despite the fact that his 8th District is now a lot more Republican as a result of state legislative redistricting.

Kissell of Biscoe was once again endorsed by the National Rifle Association “as a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.”

The NRA also endorsed Kissell in 2010.

Support for Parker weak

In defending his decision last week not to step down after a sex scandal rocked the state party, N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Parker said, “Most of my fellow Democrats are asking me to stay on and fight this.”

But most Democratic primary voters actually think otherwise.

A plurality – 45 percent – thinks he should have resigned. Only 19 percent think he should remain atop the party.

Another 36 percent are undecided, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

Staff writers John Frank, Craig Jarvis, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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