A majority of North Carolinians oppose a proposed constitutional amendment which would ban gay marriage in the state, a new poll has found.

While only 36 percent of respondents to an Elon University Poll released Friday said they support gay marriage, a majority (54%) said they are opposed to Amendment One, while 38 percent said they favor the amendment.

Voters will decide on the measure during North Carolina's May 8 presidential primary.

If approved, the amendment would bar North Carolina from recognizing the relationships of gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

The poll also found a large increase in the number of people strongly opposed to the amendment, up from 22 percent last year to 34 percent today.

“Consistent with what we see nationally, North Carolinians are starting to warm to the idea of same-sex civil unions or partnerships,” Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement accompanying the poll's findings. “Compared to this time last year, far more citizens are supportive of giving at least some partnership rights to gay couples.”

The poll surveyed 605 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points.