A new poll released Monday shows Iowans divided on the issue of gay marriage.

The poll, conducted by The Des Moines Register, shows voters in the state nearly evenly divided about whether they would vote for or against a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Iowa.

Opponents of gay marriage edged out supporters by just one percentage point, with 41% of voters saying they would vote in favor of a ban. The remainder of respondents are either not sure or did not answer the question.

The poll was the first to examine opinions in the state since the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on April 3.

Republicans seeking the governor's mansion in 2010 are betting heavily that the issue will help their ambitions. Frontrunner Bob Vander Plaats has pledged as governor he would sign an executive order placing a stay on gay marriages. Rod Roberts, a Republican state representative, has called for the ouster of the court's seven justices, three of whom will be up for retention in 2010.

A majority of Iowans (43%) said they oppose the court's unanimous ruling. Twenty-six percent favored it.

Opposition against gay marriage is strongest among Republicans. Sixty-two percent of Republican respondents said they either oppose or strongly oppose giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. Forty-six percent of Democratic respondents said they either favor or strongly favor gay marriage.

The paper contacted 803 Iowans between September 14 and 16. The poll claims a 3.5 percent margin of error.