SALT LAKE CITY — A poll conducted last week shows the majority of Utahns "completely support" the state's decision to appeal last year's ruling that struck down Amendment 3, but an even greater number believe the Supreme Court will rule a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
The Zions Bank/UtahPolicy.com poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, found that 61 percent of 400 "likely voters" oppose same-sex marriage, and 29 percent support it. This much was expected, according to Bryan Schott, managing editor at UtahPolicy.com.
But while 62 percent of respondents support Utah's decision to appeal to the Supreme Court, only 17 percent believe the Supreme Court will uphold Utah's ban on same-sex marriage.
Schott says the poll shows that most Utahns are passionate fighters in favor of a ban, but they're resigned to believing that victory is unlikely.
"I think that they understand the legal reality of things. There have been so many rulings in lower courts striking down bans on same-sex marriage," he said. "But this says that Utahns feel so strongly about this issue, that it's a fight worth having, and they're in it all the way to the bitter end, no matter what happens."
Kjersten Adams, a business analyst with Dan Jones & Associates, says the findings mirror conservative sentiment in the state.
"I think it shows that Utahns want the state to do as much as possible to uphold (Amendment 3), but they also have a pretty good idea or belief that they won't get the ruling that they're looking for," Adams said.
The poll found that 88 percent of those who identified themselves as "very active" members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints oppose same-sex marriage, while 40 percent of those who are "somewhat active" support same-sex marriage. Ninety percent of those who reported having no religious beliefs were found to support same-sex marriage.
"This is an issue that seems to be very tied to religions in the state," Schott said.
The poll also illustrates an apparent division between political parties on the issue, with 87 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of independents opposed to same-sex marriage, and 79 percent of Democrats in support of it.
"This issue is clearly very divisive and very toxic for voters here in Utah," Schott said. "This is a bad issue for Democrats simply because there aren't enough Democrats to elect Democrats on their own to public offices. They need political independents, and if they tie themselves so closely to same-sex marriage, that turns off political independents and that hurts a lot of their abilities to win these offices.
"It's not an issue that wins elections."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: MorganEJacobsen