The final Elway Research poll before the election hit the streets today, and it shows that approving Referendum 74, thereby legalizing gay marriage, has the support of only 49 percent of likely voters. Six percent of voters are undecided and 45 percent of voters are opposed. It also shows the GOP's Rob McKenna taking a narrow lead for governor, a close race for state attorney general, and several initiatives teetering between passage and defeat. The full report from Elway is here. But back to gay marriage.
"Opposition to Referendum 74 has grown over the past month," says the Elway Poll, "while support has stayed at virtually the same level since July."
This is not great news.
Before you freak out, though, a couple caveats: Elway's previous polls represented a sample of all registered voters; this poll was of likely voters. So it's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison that could, possibly, be leaving out younger, newly registered, liberal-er-ish voters. The poll of 451 voters also has a margin of error of 5 percent.
All that said, THE POLL SHOWS THAT LESS THAN 50 PERCENT OF VOTERS SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY. The group of undecided voters is shrinking, with those folks breaking toward "reject" votes. Everyone seems to think that approving R-74 is in the bag. It's not. Sure, some might say, Elway has low-balled initiatives in the past. And true, other recent polls show R-74 has slightly more support. And polls are only a snapshot and you have to look at trends and blah and babble and furthermore blah. Still, these numbers should be alarming.
This news should not make gays and their allies freak out. But it should make gays and their allies resolute about phone banking, talking to your family, door-belling, and doing all that stuff you intended to do between now and the election. And the Washington United for Marriage campaign needs to start hitting back hard against these bigoted attack ads. These last two weeks are when it really counts.