...Monmouth University pollster and political scientist Patrick Murray said [Governor] Christie's proposal indicates that "politically, he doesn't want his fingerprints anywhere near this."
Murray said Democrats will first force Christie to veto their bill. Then, they will look at the political tea leaves to see if a ballot initiative can pass in November.
Even though a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that 52 percent of New Jerseyans support gay marriage, the California ballot question in 2008 offers a lesson for Democrats.
Gay marriage there was banned, Murray said, in part because it was opposed by socially conservative African Americans who turned out in large numbers to vote for Barack Obama.
Obama is again on the ballot in November, presenting a similar potential pitfall.
Christie on Tuesday said the ballot measure should be posted for this November exactly because it's a presidential year and will bring the most voters out to the polls.
Even after a veto, Democrats still might not ask for a referendum.
Democrats "don't want to put it on the ballot and have it fail because that would probably end the debate over this for quite some time," Murray said. "It really is a very complex calculation that supporters of gay marriage would have to do before deciding to put this on the ballot."