AI WB Political Polling

NC SENATE POLL: Gay Marriage & Voters vs Courts

Likely Voters oppose same-sex marriage 48-44, Registered Voters tied at 46; 62% say voters, not courts, should decide marriage law; Oppose AG Roy Cooper’s decision to not defend Amendment One 46-41

Our new American Insights poll shows that North Carolina voters remain divided on the issue of same-sex marriage, with registered voters exactly tied on the question while likely voters oppose redefining marriage by 4 points, 48-44. At the same time, North Carolina registered voters overwhelmingly believe that they, not courts, should decide the issue, 62-26. Voters oppose (46-41) Attorney General Roy Cooper’s decision not to defend Amendment One, passed by voters in 2012 with 61% support.

“While a strong majority of North Carolina voters supported traditional marriage over same-sex marriage by passing Amendment One in 2012, they remain deeply divided over the issue today. What’s very clear from this poll is that voters, by more than two-to-one, believe they, not courts, should have the power to determine marriage law for the state,” said American Insights Director Pearce Godwin. “Voters are torn on Attorney General Roy Cooper’s decision to not defend Amendment One, with the plurality disagreeing with the move.”

Same-sex Marriage

  • Registered voters evenly split at 46% on whether “marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.”
  • 44% of men support gay marriage, while, slightly more, 47% of women do.
  • Support for same-sex marriage consistently falls from younger to older voters. 63% of RVs age 18-34 support gay marriage, as do 50% of those 35-49, but only 37% of 50-64 and 33% of voters 65+ support redefining marriage.
  • White voters support gay marriage 49-45, but Black voters are opposed 48-34.
  • Democrats support gay marriage 57-32, as do Independents 50-40. Republicans oppose gay marriage 68-28.
  • 75% of Conservatives are opposed to gay marriage, with only 19% in support. Moderates favor same-sex marriage 52-37, as do Liberals 78-17.

Voters vs. Courts

  • 62% of RVs “believe North Carolina law defining marriage should be determined by voters,” while 26% believe it should be “determined by courts.”
  • 65% of Men and 60% of Women believe voters should determine marriage policy.
  • Just 55% of young voters (18-34) believe voters should determine marriage law, while 30% believe it should be up to the courts. 62% of 35-49, 68% of 50-64 and 64% of 65+ believe the power should lie with voters.
  • 64% of White voters and 62% of Black voters believe they should decide, rather than courts.
  • 70% of Republicans and 72% of Independents believe it’s the voters’ role, while a small majority, 53%, of Democrats agree. 38% of Democrats want the law determined by courts.
  • 77% of Conservative and 67% of Moderates believe voters should decide the marriage issue. A majority of Liberals believe courts should make the call, 52-41.

Cooper Decision

  • When asked if they support or oppose Attorney General Roy Cooper’s decision “that he will not defend in court the State Constitutional Amendment passed by voters in 2012 defining marriage as between one man and one woman,” 41% of registered voters support it, while a larger 46% oppose.
  • Men oppose Cooper’s decision 48-41, while Women more narrowly oppose it, 44-41.
  • Young voters, aged 18-34, are exactly divided on the decision 41-41. Voters aged 35-49 actually support the AG’s decision, 47-43. Voters aged 50-64 disagree by 10 points at 40-50. Older voters (65+) stand opposed by 14 points, 37-51.
  • White voters oppose the move 48-42. However, Black voters, who oppose gay marriage by 14 points (48-34), support Cooper’s decision 43-39.
  • 67% of Republicans oppose the decision, with 22% of the GOP supporting. Independents are closely divided, opposing by two points, 42-44. 61% of Democrats support Cooper’s decision, which 30% of his party opposes.
  • 71% of Conservatives oppose the move, with 18% supporting. Moderates are in support 46-40, as are liberals by 50 points, 71-21.

METHODOLOGY: American Insights surveyed 600 Registered Voters in North Carolina between September 5th and 10th, and then determined 459 to be Likely Voters based on four turnout questions. The margin of error is ±4.0% for Registered Voters and ±4.6% for Likely Voters. ‘Triple Helix’ mixed modal surveying methodology included 50% live landline phone, 20% cell phone and 30% online. All respondents were asked questions concerning basic demographics and the sample was designed to accurately reflect the actual registered voter population in North Carolina according to age, race, gender, geographic area and party registration. On party registration, the registered voter sample precisely matches the registered voter population at 42% Democrat, 31% Republican, 27% Unaffiliated.