Why Opposition to Gay Marriage Isn’t Swinging Minnesota Romney’s Way
Why has Mitt Romney written off Minnesota? While Democratic candidates have gone nine-for-nine in the presidential races here since 1976, this year had seemed to present an opportunity for a GOP surge: a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution. Poll numbers show the majority of Minnesota voters currently support the ban, with 52% of respondents in favor of defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, and 37% against it. With the conservative base mobilizing around the issue, shouldn’t Mitt Romney benefit from higher Republican voter turnout in this blue-leaning purple state come November?
There is no indication of that so far, if the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul in late August is a barometer. The fair is a popular stop for politicians, and an electioneering battleground for issue campaigns, at the center of which is the hot-button marriage amendment. Along with the renowned assortment of deep fried foods served on sticks, also on sticks were orange paper fans urging sweaty fairgoers to “vote no” on Election Day. Green and white stickers supporting the amendment said, “Marriage: One Man, One Woman.”
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Romney, who happened to be in town for a pair of fundraisers when the fair opened on Aug. 23, skipped the conglomeration of thrill rides, animal contests and corn dogs in favor of a dinner that cost couples $50,000 each. “It’s a built-in retail opportunity to shake hands and kiss babies and all that stuff, and I was very surprised that he wasn’t there,” says Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. “But I think it speaks volumes to the fact that they know they can’t win in this state.”