A Corporate Research Associates poll commissioned by the St. John’s Telegram and the Charlottetown Guardian shows that Atlantic Canadian opinion on same-sex unions is sharply divided and support for it is declining.

The survey of 1,508 Atlantic Canadians found that 45 per cent either completely or mostly support same-sex marriages, compared to 44 per cent who said they were either mostly or completely opposed.

Support was lowest in Prince Edward Island (43 per cent for, 49 per cent against) and highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (48 per cent in favour, 40 per cent opposed). Furthermore, support was higher among women, younger Atlantic Canadians and those with higher incomes and education.

CRA president Don Mills told the Guardian what the findings “indicate is that it’s going to be hard to make any changes because there’s going to be a fairly significant and strong level of opposition, at the moment at least.”

The CRA poll of Atlantic Canadians had a larger sample size and is thus considered a better snapshot of regional attitudes than polls conducted in the last 15 months by central Canadian pollsters Pollara and Leger Marketing.

In August, a national Pollara poll found that 51 per cent of Atlantic Canadians support same-sex unions, while 39 per cent were opposed. In July 2001, Leger found that almost three-quarters of Atlantic Canadians supported same-sex marriage – a number never close to being replicated in another survey.