Marylanders show support for same-sex marriage, Dream Act, Gonzales poll shows

Same-sex marriage and the Dream Act are supported by a majority of Marylanders, but voters are just about evenly split on gambling expansion, according to a new independent poll released Wednesday.

Supporters of the Dream Act are furthest ahead, with 58 percent of respondents saying they would support it, according to the survey by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. Only 34 percent opposed.

The law would allow some illegal immigrants to pay lower, in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities. It passed in the General Assembly last year and was petitioned to referendum by opponents -- but since then, there's been no coordinated campaign against the law.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have an eight-point advantage, the poll showed. Fifty-one percent said they would vote for the law, and 43 percent said they would vote "no."

Pollster Patrick Gonzales noted a wide gap in the African-American vote, where he found that 44 percent support and 52 percent oppose. He noted that their attitudes are shifting. When he polled in January, only 33 percent of black respondents said they would vote "yes."

The strongest opposition to same-sex marriage is among Republicans, 75 percent of whom said they would vote no.

Gambling is shaping up to be the tightest race, with 45 percent supporting expansion and 46 percent opposing it.

The most support comes from Democrats -- 51 percent said they would vote for it. Gonzales found that African-American voters were the most hostile to gambling expansion of any demographic he reported, with 64 percent saying they would vote against.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23 and included 813 registered voters. The margin of error is 3.5 percent.