The New York Times paints a basically accurate picture: our opponents enjoy a huge spending advantage, months or even years of advance work, and yet less than a week before the election HRC is downplaying expectations saying even one victory and three defeats will be a "turning point" -- only an issue with as weak a track record as gay marriage could see significance in losing the majority of liberal states voting this year:
"For opponents of same-sex marriage, it has been a potent and often repeated talking point: though the courts or the legislatures of some states have given gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, wherever it has appeared on the ballot, voters have rejected it.
With public opinion shifting in their direction, a four-to-one spending advantage and months or even years of one-on-one appeals to potential voters, rights groups see a good chance of victory in at least one or two of the four states where same-sex marriage is a ballot item this year.
Current polls indicate a solid lead for supporters in Maine and a lesser one in Washington State, while the races in Maryland and Minnesota are about even, with the opponents apparently gaining.
Even a single victory “will be a turning point,” said Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national group promoting gay rights that has directed $5 million to the four marriage battles.
Six states and the nation’s capital have legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples. But in 30 states, voters have limited marriage to a man and a woman through constitutional amendments; in addition, same-sex marriage has been blocked in referendums like those in California in 2008 and Maine in 2009.
Opponents of broader rights for gay and lesbian couples are mounting a barrage of advertising and telephone appeals in the final week of the campaign, warning undecided voters that “redefining marriage” would force onerous changes in schools, businesses and churches..."