A recently released poll has found that opposition to Washington State's referendum to legalize same-sex marriage was grown considerably while support has slightly declined.
Released by Elway Research Inc., the poll found that opposition to Referendum 74 this month is at 45 percent, up from 37 percent in September. Also, support for R-74 declined slightly to 49 percent in October.
Given that the poll comes with a 4.5 percent margin of error, the 49 percent to 45 percent difference is a statistical dead heat.
Preserve Marriage Washington, who was able to get the issue of same-sex marriage legalization on the ballot, hailed the results as an indicator of their side "closing the gap" on the referendum.
"This survey is bad news for supporters of Referendum 74 which would redefine marriage in Washington state," said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for PMW, in a statement.
"Our opponents have had the airwaves to themselves for months before our TV ads started only recently, and they're outspending us by a margin of seven-to-one. Despite this, support for the referendum is dropping and opposition is rising rapidly."
H. Stuart Elway, president of Elway Research, told The Christian Post that he attributed the change to "ballot measures typically [picking] up opposition as the campaign goes on" and "the effects of the campaign."
Elway also cautioned about reading too much into the slight decline of support and considerable increase in opposition to Referendum 74.
"What happens in the last two weeks is anyone's guess. The outcome will be determined by late deciders and voter turnout," said Elway.
"When civil unions (R-71) was on the ballot here in 2009, it was polling lower than this R-74 and won. In September of 2009, our poll had R-71 ahead by 5 points, but under 50 percent (46-41). It went on to win by six points (53-47)."
Another finding of the Elway poll was the much documented generation gap in support for same-sex marriage, as support for R-74 stood at 60 percent for those under 35 and 40 percent for those over 65.
In February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington State, making it the seventh state in the United States to legally recognize gay marriage.
Originally, the legislation was to take effect on June 7. However, opponents were able to gather an estimated 242,000 signatures to put the issue onto the ballot for November.