Florida Voters Lean Toward Banning Homosexual Marriage

October 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Floridians look poised to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage next month but seem less enthralled with other amendments that range from offering tax breaks for public marinas to raising taxes for community colleges.

Of the six constitutional changes headed to voters Nov. 4, only Amendment 2 — enshrining Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage — is close to the 60 percent threshold needed to pass, an Orlando Sentinel poll shows.

Of the 625 registered voters surveyed, 55 percent supported the gay-marriage amendment, while 34 percent were against it, totals largely unchanged from late August. The poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Eleven percent were undecided. But Brad Coker, polling director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said experience in other states suggests this group will likely back the ban.

“There just seems to be the trend where the undecided voters just sort of fall down on the anti-gay side,” he said.

Voters remained undecided about the other amendments on the ballot.

For instance, about one-third were for, against and undecided on Amendment 1, which would remove lawmakers’ never-utilized power to ban non-citizens from owning property.

Both Amendments 4 and 6 — which offer tax breaks to property owners who pledge not to develop their land and to commercial waterfront owners — “are at least in the game,” Coker said, with supporters outnumbering opponents by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Still, only about half of voters knew enough about either to have an opinion — owing both to the complexity of the issues and the lack of any organized campaigning.

Environmental groups have rallied behind Amendment 4, hoping it could prompt large developers such as The St. Joe Company in North Florida to place more land into conservation. But they haven’t been able to launch any TV or radio ads.

“People like to align with the word conservation, and we think that’s the strongest message we’ve got,” said Eric Draper, policy director for Audubon of Florida.

Amendment 3, which would provide a tax break estimated at $17 for every $1,000 worth of hurricane shutters or solar panels added to a home, also has had little support from interest groups. The survey found 29 percent for, 26 percent against and 45 percent undecided.

“All of them [the amendments] are very long. None of them are very simple, so it’s not surprising you have a lot of people saying ‘I just don’t know’ at this point,” Coker said.

“The general rule is if the undecideds are still confused at the end, they’ll vote no.”

The only ballot question with more opposition than support is Amendment 8, which would allow local governments to raise sales taxes after public votes to support community colleges.

Voters were tilting against it 40 percent to 37 percent, with 23 percent undecided.

“Any time you hear the word tax, it’s a red flag for voters,” Coker said.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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