BY MIKE BAKER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Opponents of gay marriage have an unblemished track record in U.S. elections, chalking up 32 victories in 32 public votes.
They've won in blue states and red ones, among the most heavily religious areas and among the least-churched. North Carolina punctuated the winning streak just last month by comfortably approving a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.
Gay marriage supporters are optimistic that they can end their losing ways this year, with four states voting on the issue in November. They're particularly encouraged by the prospects in Washington and Maine. Meanwhile opponents have taken steps to maintain their unflawed record and believe their side will be motivated to hold the status quo.
Here are five reasons why same-sex marriage proponents have a decent shot at success in 2012: