While acknowledging that the state deficit dominates debate in the race for governor, foes of same-sex marriage said Monday that their polling suggests Republican Tom Emmer could benefit by highlighting his opposition to it.

The Minnesota Family Council said a recent poll commissioned by same-sex marriage opponents shows that Emmer is the choice of 42 percent of likely voters and DFL candidate Mark Dayton wins 39 percent when the voters are told that Dayton supports same-sex marriage and Emmer does not.

Absent that information, the poll showed Dayton beating Emmer 42 percent to 33 percent.

Independence Party candidate Tom Horner won 9 percent of the vote when people were told that he supported same-sex marriage, and 12 percent when not told.

The poll, commissioned by the National Organization for Marriage and conducted by Lawrence Research in California, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. The poll was based on 695 telephone interviews with likely voters, and the results were weighted by party preference and age.

When respondents also were told that Emmer favored allowing a vote on same-sex marriage, his margin over Dayton grew to 42-36.

Opponents have sought a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. While governors have no role in passing or blocking constitutional amendments, "he has the bully pulpit," said Tom Pritchard, president of the Minnesota Family Council.

Additionally, there have been other measures that would legalized same-sex marriage that a governor could sign or veto.