Equality Delaware Poll: Delaware Favors Civil Unions By Large Margin

Filed in Delaware by on March 17, 2011

Equality Delaware released the results of a poll of Delawareans yesterday which showed large support for civil unions in Delaware. Equality Delaware is the group that has sponsored the civil unions bill in Delaware (which will be introduced in the Senate next week).

The poll, which was conducted February 28 through March 6, 2011 by Lake Research Partners, shows that more than six out of 10 voters (62%) in Delaware favor allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions which is twice the number who oppose such a law (31%). The remaining 7% of voters are undecided. Nearly 700 likely voters in Delaware participated in the poll, which has a +/- 3.8% margin of error.

There were some interesting findings in the poll. Every county supports marriage equality, all age groups support and all political leanings except Republican men support civil unions.

    • The overall intensity of support for civil unions, which is much stronger than those opposed with 45% of the Delaware electorate strongly favoring same-sex civil unions compared to just 21% who strongly oppose civil unions.
    • Voters in every corner in the state supporting same-sex civil unions. New Castle County voters are in favor of civil unions by a margin of 70% to 21%. In Kent County, civil unions are favored 49% to 43%, and in Sussex County 51% favor civil unions and while 47% are in opposition.
    • Democrats (73%) and independents (63%) staunchly supporting civil unions, with Republicans divided—45% in support and 51% not in support. Republican women, however, are narrowly in favor of civil unions by a margin of 50% to 48%.
    • Support for civil unions among a majority of men (58%) and women (66%).
    • Solid majorities in every age group standing in support of civil unions, including 55% of seniors, 64% of voters between the ages of 50-64, and 64% of voters under the age of 50. Support for civil unions is even higher among the youngest voters.
  • If there are still legislators on the fence about this bill, perhaps this poll will help them decide. The debate on this bill will be interesting to watch.

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    Comments (18)

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    1. skippertee says:

      Got it. Now I’ll zip off a memo to Barbieri to make sure he’s on board.
      I don’t need to contact Karen.

    2. socialistic ben says:

      maybe while we’re at it, we can support counting them as 3/5ths of a person.

    3. Dana Garrett says:

      I wonder what the poll results would have been if they also asked how many Delawareans supported marriage equality. I wonder if there would have been a big difference in the outcomes.

    4. Steve Newton says:


      I think, regrettably, there would have been a huge difference in Sussex, a large difference in Kent, and a small difference in New Castle. I think the GOP numbers would have skewed sharply into the 70%+ negative across the board

      We are about half a generation shy of this becoming a complete non-issue as young people with clearer heads and fewer social prejudices move into the voting majority.

      That said, this is still good news.

    5. jason330 says:

      I agree. For Non-Eschaton readers, here is a tidy summation of the dying GOP’s position.

      P.Z. Myers explains why Newt Gingrich is moral, and he isn’t.

      The Republicans support a version of marriage that rests on tradition, authority, and masculine dominance, and everything they do props up one leg of the tripod or the other. Public piety reinforces religious tradition; the insistence that there is one true form of marriage, between a man and a woman, which represents a legal and social commitment is part of the authoritarian impulse; and of course, if a man steps out of the matrimonial bounds, it’s an expression of machismo and patriotism and entitlement.


      Now look at those dirty rotten hippies, like me. We say the ties between a couple should be made with respect and affection, not the strictures of law and precedent; letting gays marry, for instance, strengthens the public approval of our kinds of bond, while weakening the authoritarian bonds. Our ideal is a community of equals, while theirs is a hierarchy of power, a relic of Old Testament values in which marrying a woman was like buying a camel, a certification of ownership, and nothing must compromise the Big Man’s possession of property.

    6. pandora says:

      We are “half a generation shy of this becoming a complete non-issue.” In a house bursting with teenagers they think people who have a problem with this are nuts – and these teenagers are from all walks of life. The kids are alright!

    7. Dana Garrett says:

      I agree. Legalizing civil unions probably is a necessary first step toward full equality. I’d love to be around to see it, though.

    8. Steve Newton says:


      Unless you have plans to get run over in the street sometime soon, I am personally expecting you to still be here in ten years, which I think is the outside timeframe that I project.

      You, uh, don’t have any plans for leaving that you haven’t shared with us, do you? 🙂

    9. Dana Garrett says:

      No, plans. But the genetic heritage of Garrett males (father and uncles) for longevity isn’t pretty. But I did have a grandfather who made it to 99. Here’s hoping!

    10. Collins Batchelor says:

      As a heterosexual male I do not have a dog in this fight. As a member of the human race I do, and I am ashamed that we as a nation, as a people still have and institutionalize this discrimination. I hope that we get past this much quicker than that 10 year time frame.

    11. anon says:

      WGMD posted this news story. Commenters are claiming its skewed propaganda paid for by Equality Delaware.

      Time to call your Reps. & Senators, the fight for this has only just begun.

      There is a press conference on Tuesday in Dover at 1:30 PM. If you are in the area, please attend.

    12. doctorofeducation says:

      Anon: Thanks for the information on the press conference happening tomorrow at 1:30. As far as the WGMD commenters, how can these results NOT be skewed propaganda if they are paid for by Equality Delaware?! Perhaps someone with an unbiased, critically-trained mentality would like to inform me of how the general public is expected to jump on this love-train with poll results being generated from such a starkly biased group. I have an open mind but a keen radar for tactics that are designed to exert control.

      • Is doctorofeducation for real? I eagerly await for a poll paid for by an anti-equality group. Ever notice how they never release any? The poll was conducted by a polling organization, feel free to click through to see the sample breakdown.

    13. pandora says:

      Well… I know he has an open mind and a keen radar, because he told us so.

    14. @Steve Newton and @Dana Garrett:
      We released a poll in February from Delaware Right to Marry asking about full marriage equality. Support is lower, though a narrow plurality statewide favor it (48%). As for region breakdown, I don’t think I released the exact numbers fully, but I can tell you that what you might expect is not necessarily accurate. Sussex outperforms Kent for favoring full equality, contrary to what Steve speculated above. People can draw their own inferences as to why that might be.

    15. I believe IIRC that the numbers from the Delaware Right to Marry poll match up pretty well. I seem to remember numbers in the low 30s for “strongly disapprove” which matches up with the numbers here who are against. It looks like most of the slightly disapproves move into approve when it’s changed from marriage to civil unions.

    16. anon says:

      I, too, wish we could get an unbiased poll not paid for by either side. But this is a small state, not sure who would be willing (and unbiased) to pay for such a poll.

      Also, I am not familiar with the polling company so I don’t know if they are the Lefts answer to Rasmussen, or a legit unbiased pollster.

      Regardless of the poll, now is the time to get involved in the process. There might not be another chance at this.