Polls predict close call for amendments

Final polls show the amendment battles are in a virtual tie.

by Tyler Gieseke


With Election Day here, the latest polls show the marriage and voter ID amendments are in a dead heat.

In its final Minnesota survey, Public Policy Polling found those planning to vote no on the amendments outnumber supporters. A SurveyUSA study released Sunday reported similar numbers.

According to PPP, which released its results Saturday, 52 percent of voters oppose the marriage amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, while 45 percent support it.

SurveyUSA reported a closer margin, with 48 percent voting against the marriage amendment and 47 percent in favor of it.

The voter ID amendment, which would require that Minnesota voters present valid photographic ID at the polls, was tied at 48 percent in the SurveyUSA poll.

PPP reported voter ID opponents leading 51-46.

Margin of error for SurveyUSA is plus or minus 4.2 percent, compared to 2.9 percent for PPP.

Opinions on both amendments have shifted in recent months. In early October, PPP said voters favored the voter ID amendment 51-43.

But David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University, said he suspects that sample skewing and margin of error account for this apparent shift in public opinion.

“I’m not convinced that it’s that close,” he said.

In July, a SurveyUSA/KSTP poll showed 52 percent of voters supported the marriage amendment while 37 percent were against it. At that time, 11 percent were unsure or were not planning to vote on the issue.

Schultz said there’s evidence of a gap between what people who support the marriage amendment tell pollsters and how they actually vote of about five to seven percentage points overall, based on 31 other states that have had similar initiatives on the ballot. He said if that’s true in Minnesota, five to seven points should be added to support of the marriage amendment on any poll.

Schultz added education about the marriage amendment may have tightened the race.

He said both polls seem to be a little skewed. PPP has been labeled as favoring Democrats, he said, and SurveyUSA’s methodology has often been criticized.

“I’m not sure there is any one single poll out there that gives us the best estimate,” he said.