Following the release of a new poll, conducted by University of Arkansas, 365gay.com reports that 53 percent of prospective voters would approve the ban, while 42 percent would reject it. Five percent of those questioned either had no opinion or refused to answer.
The poll surveyed 754 adult Arkansans by telephone between Oct. 7-18 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
An AP news analysis warns Republicans against depending on a gay wedge issue to drive their voters to the polls.
The push to ban unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children may not pay off for Republicans in Arkansas the way a successful gay marriage ban did in 2004.
The head of the Arkansas Family Council, which is trying to get the measure aimed at banning gays and lesbians from fostering or adopting children, admits the low level of interest.
Jerry Cox, the council’s director, says the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman was much easier to place on the ballot in 2004.
Unlike the gay marriage amendment in 2004, the foster parent ban isn’t part of a larger, multi-state campaign that would grab the attention of the presidential hopefuls. That year, Arkansas was 1 of 11 states to pass gay marriage bans.
Then, religious and conservative groups were able to draw support through images of gay marriages on television. Equally dramatic images of children being placed in an adoptive or foster home don’t come as easily.
The language of the proposed ban has already been approved for supporters to begin collecting the 61,000 or so signatures necessary to put it on the ballot. But after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Gov. Mike Beebe said they opposed the measure, Cox submitted a new version that would declare married couples the best guardians for Arkansas children.
If he collects signatures for either version, Cox said, he doesn’t expect the same level of excitement from potential supporters.