The article is dated January 1, 2012 which seemed strange to me (isn’t it possible that something earth-shattering could happen in the two remaining days of 2011), but nonetheless it’s an interesting read.
The Baltimore Sun says there are four political hotspots in the year ahead:
Maryland’s governor won’t be on the ballot, and the state is highly unlikely to play much of a role in the presidential election. But 2012 is nonetheless shaping up to be a riveting year in Maryland politics. Here are four major stories to watch in the year to come.
The four are: Gay marriage, the Dream Act, the continued budget shortfall, and the hot races, especially the 6th District race where Governor O’Malley’s successful redistricting map makes it harder for a Republican to win.
Read all about the action and fun ahead, but here is what the Sun is saying about the Dream Act and how the success of the petition drive now has ramifications for the gay marriage issue. I was especially interested in the poll results:
A big reason why it’s now or never for this General Assembly to pass gay marriage is the prospect that the legislation will be petitioned to referendum. Legislators aren’t likely keen on the idea of such a hot-button issue appearing on the ballot at the same time their names do. And any lingering doubt about whether opponents could navigate the Byzantine rules of petition gathering was eased last year by the highly effective campaign to bring the Maryland Dream Act to referendum.
It’s still not certain that voters will get a chance to weigh in on the Dream Act. The immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland is suing to invalidate the Board of Elections’ certification of the petition, arguing, among other things, that an Internet application that helped eliminate the errors that doomed previous referendum efforts violated state law. Hearings are scheduled to begin later this month.
The latest public state-wide polling shows the public is more or less evenly divided on both gay marriage and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. The Annapolis firm Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies reported in October that 48 percent of Maryland voters supported gay marriage and 49 percent opposed it — a statistical tie. The survey found 47 percent supported the Dream Act and 51 percent opposed it, which is just outside the poll’s margin of error. In both cases, few are undecided, and the vast majority of voters feel strongly about their opinions, the survey showed. The firm plans to release new survey results on both issues when the General Assembly reconvenes this month.
I thought that split on the Dream Act was pretty significant —51 percent oppose. No wonder Casa de Maryland wants to win this in court and never let it get to the voters.