MSUB Poll Surprising Results - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

MSUB Poll Surprising Results

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MSU Billings students and professors work hard every year to take statewide surveys on national, state, and local issues. It's the 25th year of conducting the polls.

Some of the responses follow traditional Montanan values while others are somewhat unexpected. That's the case with the question about same sex marriage in Montana.

Same sex marriage remains a controversial issue across much of the nation and here in Montana, there's a constitutional ban against it. But this time around, the survey of 410 Montanans produced a first when it comes to this issue.

"That was the first poll in Montana that has shown greater support for same sex marriage then opposition," says Matt McMullen, Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the poll.

When asked, "Would you support or oppose the legalization of same sex marriage in Montana?" the majority, 46.6%, support while 42.6% oppose the issue. The results showed 10.8% are undecided.

"In the last couple of years, Montanans have not really been for that," says Daniel Barnhart, MSUB Student Pollster, and political science student.

The pollsters found gender and education had nothing to do with opinions on the issue.

"As America grows, and as Montana grows, we're just getting different results. And we're transforming as a nation," says Barnhart.

MSUB Professors Craig Wilson and Matt McMullen say the acceptance of same sex marriage in other states could be part of the reason for the change.

"I think people look at other states and what they're doing and that has an impact on their opinion," says Wilson, Political Science Professor at MSUB.

"I think it just always going through a certain process of seeing it actually take place elsewhere and then acceptance of it, and solely adopting it, certain aspects of it, and solely progressing through that," says Bobby Donaldson, also a MSUB Student Pollster and political science student.

In addition, the professors say many Montanans are becoming more Libertarian.

"You have opposition to gun control, you have support for natural resource utilization, but you also have support of same sex marriage which may be considered more of a liberal view. So, maybe a libertarian kind of political perspective may make that consistent," says McMullen.

Pastor Jill Riley from Navigate Church in Billings says she is not surprised by the results because it's the culture we live in. While she doesn't support same sex marriage, she welcomes all who want a relationship with God, regardless of sexual orientation.

For the full results of the MSUB poll, click on Connections.