The late March poll comes just over a month before the public will head to the polls to decide whether to add such an amendment to the state constitution.
In addition to the direct question about a constitutional amendment, the poll asked respondents to offer personal positions on legal recognition of same-sex couples, and data shows a shift in favor of rights for gay and lesbian couples.
- It shows 38 percent of respondents say they support full marriage rights for same sex couples, up from 36 percent in February and 33 percent in November.
- Twenty-nine percent of respondents oppose any legal recognition for same sex couples, down from 32 percent in February and 35 percent in November.
- Support for civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples, but not full marriage rights, was at 29 percent, one point higher than in February 2012.
"These results reflect what's occurring nationwide," said John Robinson, director of communications for the Elon University Poll. "Opposition to any legal recognition for same-sex couples has been on the decline for a year and support for full marriage rights has been increasing. Our results suggest that the majority of North Carolinians do not want same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships banned in the state constitution. Further, it appears that citizens support at least some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples, either civil unions or marriages."
The poll, conducted March 26-29, 2012, surveyed 534 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.24 percentage points.
Meanwhile, the Durham Chamber of Commerce weighed in on the debate over the marriage amendment Monday and came out in strong opposition to the constitutional change.
"We believe strongly that this kind of initiative calls into question a community's ability to promote a creative class as part of its talent and puts us at a competitive disadvantage," said Steinbacher. "So we are very concerned about our ability to promote and grow jobs."
The 25 person board voted unanimously to oppose the marriage amendment.