A statewide poll from Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. shows a significant lead for proponents of the Dream Act, and a smaller lead for those who favor same-sex marriage. Expanded gambling, on the other hand, remains essentially tied.
The poll of 813 registered voters shows 58 percent in favor of Question 4, which would give some children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition. Of those polled, 34 percent said they would vote against the Dream Act and 8 percent said they were undecided.
The majority of African-American voters are for the Dream Act, with 70 percent in support.
“I suspect that’s because they are against discrimination, even if it’s not against them,” said Matthew Crenson, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University.
But African-Americans continue to oppose same-sex marriage at higher rates than others.
For Question 6, the same-sex marriage referendum, 51 percent of all voters were for it, 43 percent against it, and 6 percent undecided. Among African-American voters, 44 percent favor same-sex marriage, an 11-percentage-point increase from January’s Gonzales poll.
The increase in support comes in the wake of President Barack Obama’s announcement in May that he favors same-sex marriage.
Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College, said the same-sex marriage referendum could be very close, partially because African-Americans tend to diverge from the larger Democratic Party on the issue.
Eberly also warned that some voters could be afraid to answer a pollster honestly.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if 6 percent didn’t want to be perceived as intolerant,” Eberly said.
Women differed from men on both the Dream Act and same-sex marriage, supporting both at higher rates. But for expanding gaming, men and women answered similarly.
“For whatever reason on the family issues women tend to be more on the progressive side, and men on the conservative,” Eberly said.
The Expanded Gaming referendum, Question 7, would allow for table games statewide, longer casino hours and the opening of a casino at National Harbor. In the poll, 45 percent said they would vote for expanded gaming and 46 percent said they would vote against it, with 9 percent undecided.
“What it shows is the two groups most opposed are Republicans and African-Americans, and you usually don’t see them voting on the same side of an issue,” Crenson said.
Crenson said Republicans were likely to be against the referendum for economic reasons, while African-Americans may vote against it for religious reasons, or because the proposed casino at National Harbor will be in Prince George’s County, where there is a large African-American population.
Those polled listed the economy as the most important issue. Obama led the poll with 54 percent of voters having a favorable opinion of him, compared to Mitt Romney at 35 percent.
The margin of error for the poll, conducted from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23, is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.