Gay Marriage Ban Likely in North Carolina, Supreme Court Is Less Popular

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Despite the increasing popularity of gay marriage nationwide, a majority of North Carolinians support a constitutional amendment that bans them and civil unions.  Plus, the Supreme Court gets less popular, while President Obama and Mitt Romney trade places in polls. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: 55 percent of North Carolina voters support a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, while 41 percent oppose it.
PollsterPublic Policy Polling
Methodology: Robo-calls to 982 likely North Carolina voters from April 27 to April 29.
Why it matters: North Carolina is the only southern state with out a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and Americans have gotten much more supportive of gay marriage since a wave of constitutional bans passed in 2004. And the poll shows opponents of the measure have done a poor job explaining to the public what's in it -- the amendment would ban not just gay marriage, but civil unions, too. PPP finds that people who know the measure bans civil unions oppose it by 60 percent to 38 percent. Those who don't know it bans civil unions support it 72 percent to 27 percent. The vote is next week.
Caveat: PPP is a Democratic firm.

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Findings: The Supreme Court is more unpopular than ever, with 52 percent of Americans having a favorable view of it and 29 percent having an unfavorable view. That's down from April 2009, when 64 percent viewed the court favorably. 
Pollster: Pew Research Center
Methodology: Survey of 3,008 adults from April 4 to April 15.
Why it matters: The Supreme Court is the most liked branch of the federal government. Usually, depending on what kind of cases are before the court, there's a partisan split -- Democrats will like the court, say, while Republicans hate it, But the court's favorability ratings have been declining across party lines for three years. People who support the law at the center of the most controversial court case recently -- Obamacare -- view the court about as favorably as those who oppose it (52 percent verses 55 percent see it favorably).
Caveat: Pew's chart shows the public's mood on the court can change pretty quickly.

Findings: Obama and Romney are tied nationally with 46 percent of the vote each.
Methodology: Tracking poll of about 2,200 registered voters over the last five days.
Why it matters: This poll has showed Obama and Romney switching places a couple times in the last two weeks. The first poll showed Romney several points ahead of Obama, then Obama was ahead by 6 points, and now they're tied again. Meanwhile, Rasmussen finds Romney up by 1 point in Florida, which he has to win, while PPP finds Obama up by 8 points in Virginia, which he needs if he loses Florida and Ohio.
Caveat: It's all about averages.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.