A majority of Mainers support equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

A poll commissioned by the Portland Press Herald found that 57 percent of Mainers support legalizing gay marriage, while 35 percent remain opposed.

Marriage equality supporters are returning the issue to the ballot box after voters in 2009 narrowly repealed a marriage law approved by lawmakers with a “people's veto,” known as Question 1. If approved, Maine would become the first state to legalize such unions with a popular vote.

James Melcher, an associate professor of political science at the University of Maine in Farmington, said that while the poll numbers are good news for supporters attitudes could change by Election Day.

“More than most election issues, that's an issue where you have to take [polling] numbers with a grain of salt. I think those numbers will be closer on Election Day,” Melcher told the paper. “That said, I think there's been a lot of momentum in favor of same-sex marriage around the country.”

A large majority of Democrats (77%) support the measure, while only 30 percent of Republicans agree.

(Related: Maine churches fundraise against gay marriage on Father's Day.)