In the process, the character of Democratic politics has changed. Traditionally, the party's office holders were often moderate or even conservative on social and cultural issues. But the last four years saw a real shift to the left in Annapolis, where lawmakers passed bills legalizing gay marriage, allowing some illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, abolishing the death penalty, and enacting some of the strictest gun control measures in the country. The first two were approved by the voters with comfortable margins in referendums, and the latest polling shows that more voters support the death penalty repeal than oppose it. Activists were unable to muster the signatures to take the gun control law to referendum. This year the state Senate voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the effort to raise the state's minimum wage is gaining steam heading into next year's General Assembly session. The latest Goucher poll puts support for an increase in the minimum wage to $10 at greater than 70 percent.