A poll out today in Maryland shows voters are poised to approve two hot-button issues via referendum this fall, but that a third remains too close to call.
Voters surveyed for the The Gonzales research poll supported same-sex marriage by a 51 to 43 percent margin. Those same respondents also favored the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented students in Maryland in-state tuition rates at state universities, by a margin of 58 to 34 percent.
But the other major referendum, on the expansion of casinos and gambling in the state, is a toss-up right now according to Gonzales research president Patrick Gonzales.
"45 percent of Marylanders say they will vote for Question 7, which would expand gaming in the state," Gonzales says. "46 percent say they will vote against Question 7, with an important 9 percent undecided."
Those tight numbers are likely a result of the intense advertising battle both sides are fighting on the issue, Gonzales says, as money spent on ads for and against expanded gaming have dwarfed all other races in Maryland.
"Advertising is having a huge impact, not only in the gaming, but when we tested the race for U.S. Senate," Gonzales says. "Where an Independent who was unknown to Maryland voters over the summer, is now running neck and neck for second place."
Rob Sobhani is that Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and he has been spending heavily on televsion ads the past month. The poll shows him with 21-percent of the vote, which is 1 percent behind Republican nominee Dan Bongino. The incumbent, Democrat Ben Cardin, is far ahead of both men, with 50 percent of the vote according to those polled. The margin of error in the poll is 3.5 percent.
The poll did not look at the fourth statewide referendum that will be on Maryland voters' ballots, which if approved would reject the Congressional redistricting map state lawmakers okayed last year.