Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gay Marriage in California

There's been very little change in public opinion on gay marriage in California since Proposition 8 passed by a 52-48 margin in 2008. Our newest poll in the state finds 46% think same sex marriage should be legal while 47% believe it should be illegal, with 8% having no opinion.

When Proposition 8 passed the black vote was seen as critical, and the continuing opposition to same sex marriage in the state is largely fueled by opinion among African Americans. 60% of blacks think it should be illegal to only 28% who think it should be allowed. Whites support same sex marriage by a 48/47 margin and Hispanics do as well 47/41 on this survey.

There's not much doubt that public opinion will move in favor of same sex marriage in California with the passage of time. Voters over 65 oppose it by a 57/34 margin, but those under 65 express favor for it 49/44 and that sentiment is particularly strong with respondents under 30 who support it 52/34.

Compared to a lot of issues opinion about gay marriage sees some spillover across party lines. 28% of Democrats think it should be illegal, but 20% of Republicans think it should be legal. We found wider party divides in our polling about things like health care and the stimulus.

It's safe to say that if gay marriage was on the ballot again in California this year the vote would probably be just as close as it was in 2008.

Full results here


wt said...

There are definitely efforts to put repealing prop 8 on the 2012 ballot (I believe the decision by activists not to put repeal on the 2010 ballot was intentional and strategic). By then there will have been enough of a chance to organize and raise funds for the repeal campaign.

Sadly, though, Obama being on the ballot in 2012 will once again spike anti-gay turnout amongst African Americans. Maybe the key is to wait until 2014 or 2016, when black turnout will be a little less than 2008 or 2012 levels. Weird issue for Dems who support gay marriage, since California will be safe for Obama in 2012.

Anonymous said...

The myth that prop 8 passed because of the African American vote is a convenient one for the high paid executives over at EQCA whose bungling was the real cause of prop 8's passage. It was easy to see that they quickly gave up control of the message to the pro 8 camp and allowed themselves to go on the defensive. It would have been easy to tie prop 8 to the regular cast of far right christian extremists that Californians have no taste for, but instead they opted to waste tens of millions of dollars on a fuzzy, friendly, completely incoherent message. Harvey Milk must have been rolling in his grave!

wt said...

Anon 11:07 -- What myth are you referring to. The African-American vote spike in 2008 did, indeed, cause Prop 8 to pass. CNN exit polls had it winning 70/30 amongst African Americans. Even now, PPP has it at 60% support. No myth here.

And in 2008, plenty of people knew that the Mormon Church and religious right were pushing the proposition. Anti-Prop 8 Activists were very successful in ripping down signs of religious Prop 8 supporters, intimidating religious supporters and their families, and painting swastikas on churches, to get the message of anti-religious sentiment out there. Definitely not what I wanted to see as the anti-Prop 8 campaign, but certainly an attempt to tie the proposition to religious organizations, as you suggest.

Actually, fuzzy and friendly TV ads were probably the best thing they could have done to mitigate the damage done by activists.

Alan said...

If you read the results, only 49 people who identified as African-American were polled. Seems that they are pulling the same shenanigans that the 2008 CCN poll tried i.e. too small of a sample size to be statistically significant.

Alan said...

This means that with a confidence level of 95%, the confidence interval for this survey would be plus or minus 14. If you wanted a 99% confidence level, your confidence interval would be plus or minus 18 with this data.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Alan: Yes, you're right. We can't say for certain what the actual numbers are for blacks unless we do a survey solely of them, since they comprise such a small proportion of CA voters. But coupled with exit poll data and cultural knowledge, we can say that generally, blacks are opposed to gay marriage.

Alan said...

@Dustin If you mean African-Americans are a small proportion of voters by California being one of only four states where the majority of the population is made up of minorities ie white population is less than 50% then yes. If you mean coupling it with the CNN exit polling to mean completely disregarding all the appropriately-sized polls done since 2008 that show that African-Americans are more in line with the general population then yes again there too. And if you mean cultural knowledge by hegemonic stereotyping of blacks, then yes again.

WalterH said...

Polls have NOTHING to do with civil rights. In the year 2000, 41% of Alabama voters voted AGAINST removing the interracial marriage ban from their constitution, even though the laws were ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1967. That's even better than a poll. That's bigots voting on what was a CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE.

Ted Gellar-Goad said...

Tom - from your poll results, can you determine the numbers for support of marriage equality among African Americans by different age groups? I'm interested in how the level of support in California differs between young African Americans and other young Americans.

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