Poll: Domestic partnership Referendum 71 could be doomed by the ‘unsure’

A group driving the effort to make sure Referendum 71 passes says recent polling data suggests they have their work cut out for them. While 51% of respondents in the survey said they would vote to approve when read the exact text of the referendum, survey participants who were ‘unsure’ of what R-71 is about “tend to vote ‘no,'” according to the Approve 71 campaign.

Here is the language for the referendum voters will see in November:

REFERENDUM 71 Ballot Title Statement of Subject:

The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].

Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

Should this bill be:

Approved ___ Rejected __

And here is the release about the polling data from Approve 71:

SEATTLE – The Approve 71 campaign today released polling data that shows the campaign to protect all of Washington’s families and the state’s domestic partnership law promises to be a tough fight that hinges on strong voter turnout and broad voter contact.

 Following certification of R-71 on Sept. 2, 2009, the Approve 71 campaign commissioned Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) to conduct a statewide survey of voters likely to vote in Washington’s upcoming general election.

 “We have seen over the years that an increasing majority of Washingtonians support equality under the law for all Washington families,” said Anne Levinson, Approve 71 campaign chair. “But we know that in an off-year election voter turnout trends to older, more conservative voters, and as much as half of the general population won’t be voting, so we wanted to ask just likely voters about specific ballot language.”

 The poll result numbers strongly suggest it will be a close election.

  •  When voters are read the exact ballot language, they divide 51 percent “approve” and 44 percent “reject.”

 “The poll suggests the same trend we’ve seen across the country, the highest margins of support are among younger voters and those who vote less frequently, particularly urban voters,” Levinson said. “The R-71 election is likely to have a very narrow margin and since the measure was certified so late, we only have a few weeks to reach voters to explain what the domestic partnership law is and how it protects families. It is critical that those who support the law turn out to vote.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that when voters are unsure of what a measure is about, they tend to vote “no.” With R-71, supporters of domestic partnership law have the approve position.

“Every voter who cares about ensuring that all Washington families have equal protection under state law must talk to their friends and family about the importance of voting approve on R-71. Thousands of families across the state are counting on us,” Levinson said.

Here is the Slog’s take on the poll data and the Weekly’s. Check out GayCapHill.com for ways to get involved on the Hill.

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2 thoughts on “Poll: Domestic partnership Referendum 71 could be doomed by the ‘unsure’

  1. This is why it’s absolutely important to be aggressive and confident in this campaign instead of keeping it “in the closet” like WFST is trying to do. As I noted in my SGN interview,

    “The community’s been overwhelmingly responsive and actually appreciates that we’re going out into the community,” Lopez said. “QAC’s presence was, after all, the first public presence on Broadway of the Approve R-71 Campaign. Given the financial weakness of the campaign because of the recession, what better way to get the message out for free than hundreds, if not thousands, of Approve R-71 posters across Capitol Hill and throughout Seattle?”

    Lopez said he could see a major shift in the Gay movement, in that; straight allies really are out there.

    “There’s a myth about hostility between Gay men and straight men,” he said. “The truth is that 75% of Americans know someone who is LGBT, and we all know that when you know an LGBT person, you’re more likely to support their equal rights.”

    He said the right wing loves to say that those who support Gay marriage are a small minority of homosexual activists trying to force their lifestyle on an innocent and unsuspecting heterosexual population. This, he said, is an outright lie.

    “Our straight brothers and sisters want to show their solidarity and support,” said Lopez. “This is a historical shift from previous moments in our movement, when straight people were actively kept out of the movement. That there are so many straight allies who are fed up with homophobia is a huge advantage, and it’s time we recognize that reality.”

    QAC officials are asking people to call into radio stations to voice support for the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign. Lopez said he remembers listening to a local radio station last year, after Prop 8 passed, and the DJ was a Lesbian who spoke of how angry and hurt she was. He said the idea clicked: What better way to get the message out than to have LGBT equality supporters call their favorite morning radio shows and tell everyone to vote to approve R-71? Lopez points out that calling in is free, and that most of the stations are based out of Seattle and are already allies.

    Lopez said those who oppose the approval of R-71 are directly attacking the LGBT community in Washington. He said R-71 like Prop 8, as it is “about taking rights away.” He says nearly 90% of the country supports ending discrimination against LGBT persons in the workplace, and a majority – including a majority of Republicans – support an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    “On issue after issue, the majority of Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of equal rights for LGBT people, and those numbers keep going up [as] more people see us fighting a dignified, confident, and proud fight,” Lopez told SGN. “We know, according to the 2008 University of Washington study, that at least 66% of Washingtonians either support marriage equality or support legal recognition of LGBT couples in the form of civil unions or domestic partnerships. That’s a two-thirds majority who are already on our side. If we get everyone who already supports us to vote to approve R-71, we will win this by a landslide and we’ll dance in the streets like we did last General Election Day.”

    But, Lopez admits, getting everyone to vote can be a big obstacle. “We have to get our supporters – especially the younger LGBT community – to actually register and vote in this off-year election.”

    “We can win this if we want to. We have to,” he said. “The consequences are huge. If the bigots win, they won’t stop at this. We know they’ll gain confidence and fight to take even more rights away.”