Gonzales: Deeps splits on in-state tuition; same-sex marriage
A new poll out (as of 12:01) Tuesday morning shows that Marylanders are nearly evenly divided on two high-profile issues could be on the 2012 ballot: In-state tuition for illegal immigrants and same-sex marriage.
The poll, released this morning by Gonzales Research & Marketing, shows that only 47 percent of respondents believe that illegal immigrants should be permitted to pay discounted in-state rates at Maryland's colleges and universities. Fifty-one percent disagree with the idea. It's the first public poll of the controversial issue.
The result is within the 3.5 percent margin for error.
Maryland's general assembly this year passed legislation granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, but opponents gathered enough signatures to petition the bill to referendum. If the petition withstands a legal challenge, it will be on the 2012 ballot.
The poll also found that Marylanders are split 49 percent to 48 percent on gay marriage, with the slight advantage going to opponents. The result is within the margin for error.
The survey of 805 Marylanders who "vote regularly" was conducted from September 19 through September 27.
Other issues of note include:
- Top concern: Nearly two-thirds of Marylanders said "the economy and jobs" are the most important issues facing the state. That could be a strong argument for the jobs bill that Gov. Martin O'Malley has floated for the upcoming special session. Gonzales found that "concern about the economy spans party lines" noting that 61 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans cited it as their top concern. Education came in a distant second, with about 10 percent of respondents naming it as the top issue.
- Bad news for President Barack Obama: The polls shows that 49 percent of Marylanders approve of the job that the president is doing. That's his lowest score since taking office in a Gonzales poll. His top numbers came in January 2009, just after he was elected, when 80 percent said they approved of him.
- O'Malley's approval score comes a bit higher than Obama's with 52 percent saying they think he is doing a good job. The score is his second best rate in a Gonzales poll since he took office in 2007.