Poll Shows Majority of California Voters Against Gay Marriage Ban

It’s a small majority, but hopeful news:

Calbears“The Field Poll survey found 51 percent against approving a possible November ballot measure to prohibit gay marriage, with 43 percent in favor. A slightly differently worded question on the same issue found 54 percent opposed and 40 percent in favor…The poll found a strong generational gap on the issue, with those aged 18-29 approving of gay marriage by 68 percent and those 65 or older disapproving by 55 percent. The poll found that in recent decades a growing number of Californians have approved allowing same-sex couples to marry, with 51 percent of those polled now approving, up from 44 percent in 2006 and 30 percent in 1985. The poll of 1,052 registered Californian voters was taken from May 17-26, in the days after California Supreme Court decision, and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to 5 percentage points, depending on the question.”

In related news, the religious right has apparently been flooding Schwarzenegger’s office with calls complaining about his opposition to the ban. You can voice yours as well. Here’s how (via AmericaBlog):

“Call 1-916-445-2841. Then press 1 (then wait a sec), then 5 (then wait a sec), then 1, then 1.” If the line is busy, call back. It only took me a few times to get through.


  1. Tim says

    I hope gay groups are mustering their moxy and getting ready for the fight. The anti- forces will only lose support as the campaign goes on, so a slight majority is all they can hope for. Still, it’s enough to make us unequal again.

    I think some of these campaigns are on the money:

    Permission (to get married)

    GLAAD Love is Love (with Susan Sarandon):

    Also, someone should try to capture the righteous indignation of Joanne Woodward in “Philadelphia”. An ad that focuses not on the gay men or women getting married, but on the families that love them, would absolutely nail the right message.

  2. John says

    FYI, out-of-state commentors…

    The Field Institute is typically associated with the San Francisco Chronicle. While the previous poll was conducted by the Los Angeles Times. While they’re both regarded as reliable and scientific, the surveying techniques of the Field Institute tends to favor metropolitan areas. In contrast, the LA Times polls give a lot of weight to rural areas (especially in Southern California’s Riverside, Kern, and San Bernardino counties).

    However, they’re actually very close (with one showing 54% against same-sex marriage and the other showing 51% for same-sex marriage). This usually means the outcome of the election will be determined by turnout. Look for the exit polls on election day. If you see a strong turnout for Obama’s demographics, we have a good chance of defeating this amendment. If the presidential election seems uncomfortably close, however, we’re probably in for a bad night.

  3. Jimmyboyo says

    I posted something yesterday in another thread.

    The amendment thing might be DOA

    Ca state law requires revisions to be handled by a constitutional convention and not by amendment.

    Since the court basicaly said that the CA constitution inherintly gave gays the right to marry then what the far righters are trying to do is a revision/ removing of a right already enshrined.

    It will come down to AG Brown (LIBERAL) to say wether the amendment initative is allowable on the ballot or that it is a revision and thus can ONLY! be handled by a constituional convention (very hard to get together and takes years even if possible)

    Any CA lawyers in the house??????

  4. qjersey says

    I’m tired of reading about polls that are biased in some way (thank you TIM) and only sample a miniscule fraction of the population. The danger of such biased and unsound polling is that the ‘results’ often skew public opinion.

    And I strongly doubt that any Constitutional admendment on the state or federal level would withstand a court challenge due to “constitutional conflicts” (one part of a constitution cannot contradict another part, e.g., equal protection and DOMA admendments).

  5. says

    Jimmy, I wouldn’t hold out much hope on keeping that question off the ballot. The same thing happened in Massachusetts: right in the Mass constitution, it says that you can’t create an initiative to change the constitution to overturn a judicial decision which extends civil rights. It’s a provision in the Mass constitution that’s as clear as day. Yet, AGs are often afraid to stand up and be courageous on something like that… and if the AG allows the ballot question, then the court (as happened in Massachusetts) will almost certainly rubber stamp that decision.

    Although, maybe I’m wrong on that last bit… because, certainly, the California’s Supreme Court was even more courageous than the Massachusetts one. California’s decision is going further and quicker than a comparison to what happened in Massachusetts.

  6. Zeke says

    Andy, It’s not the percentage of people who FAVOR MARRIAGE that will make the difference in November so the small size of the majority that you cite is irrelevant.

    It’s the size of the portion who favor the amendment that counts and in this particular poll the 43% cited who are against gay marriage that would be the portion most likely to support the amendment in November. If this poll is accurate then this number is VERY significant because it would indicate that the anti-gay marriage side has A LOT of work to do to pass this amendment.

    JIMMYBOYO, I have read a number of opinions written by attorneys in CA who claim that the initiative itself has become a moot point and in and of itself unconstitutional.

    The best commentary that I’ve read on this issue comes from Kevin Norte, a gay Republican attorney whose biography says that he is a research attorney for the Los Angeles Superior Court currently assigned to Judges Ronald Sohigian and Gregory Alarcon. He has been with the Court since 1991.

    His commentary can be found here:


    His argument is very compelling.

  7. Jimmyboyo says

    Zeke thanks, I will read that.

    Ryan, but JERRY “moonbat” Brown is the CA AG. I am not sure on the status of him having balls and taking a stand, but he is a well known ultra liberal. Do you think he out of lets say other state’s AGs would cave?

  8. Paul R says

    Jimmyboyo, it’s very hard to say how Jerry Brown would go on this because his platform for governor in 2010 isn’t as liberal as you might think—he has come out against gay marriage. Jerk. I so hope SF Mayor Gavin Newsom becomes governor.

  9. John says

    There’s no reason to be overconfident about the election. This is ultra-conservative America after all. However, the extreme pessimism that permeates this discussion isn’t helpful either.

    Running down the hallway screaming “IT’S ALL OVER, PEOPLE!” only serves to embolden the religious right. It also demoralizes the very left-leaning voters we want to attract to the polls.

    Frankly, I find such defeatist behavior quite disturbing. There’s a difference between being realistic and being fatalistic. If we’re not careful, advising folks to cancel their weddings because we’re “100% sure” the electorate will vote for the amendment might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  10. Jimmyboyo says

    Paul R

    I haven’t seen Brown’s platform for 2010

    I am just going on what I remember of him from the past. That sucks if he has come out against gay marriage.

  11. cameron says

    I heard this morning on Fresh Air that the opposite was true. 54% to 46% in favor of gay marriage, with a 2-1 margin in favor with groups under 30.

  12. cameron says

    Oh, god, that’s what the post said, isnt’ it… I guess I can’t read. NM

  13. Zeke says

    Markos Moulitsas at the Daily Kos blog had wrote a post today where he discussed polling, polling companies, methodology and accuracy. This particular story had nothing whatsoever to do with the marriage amendment polling that has been coming out of CA nor did it have anything to do with comparing the LA Times polls with the Field Poll polls as they pertain to the conflicting results that their respective companies produced on the question of gay marriage and the amendment. However, the commentary included a list of polling companies in order of their accuracy rates so far in 2008. I couldn’t help but notice that the Field Poll (the company that produced the poll discussed here where gay marriage is supported by a majority) was ranked #6 in accuracy while the LA Times (the company that gave the opposite results saying that the majority of CA voters were against gay marriage) was ranked #22.


    I think we are in a good position going into this campaign but anyone who doesn’t approach this fight as if we’re 20 points behind is a fool.

  14. Zeke says

    Sorry, it’s late and I have no business commenting when I’m tired.

    No, I didn’t mean to write “…had wrote a post today…”. That’s what happens when you edit a sentence but leave a word behind.

    Good night boys and girls!

  15. Jimmyboyo says


    So I read your earlier link.

    What we need is SF people…..come on guys….to push their Mayor to utilize his power to demand a ruling from AG Jerry Brown as quickly as possible.

    You SF people need to go camp out in front of his office and get him to very publicly push Brown to make a ruling on the amendment vs revision thing so we all know what to do next.

    If by chance he rules it is a revision and thus can only be done through a convention then GAME SET MATCH for us!

    If he lacks the balls and says he would allow the amendment on the ballot if they get enough sigs then we know we have to fight.

    SF people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Contact your mayor and put on the pressure

  16. Jimmyboyo says


    I found this


    at Gavin’s website

    I am not a SF citizen, but I sent off an e-mail about him asking Jerry brown CA AG to make a statement on wether or not it is a revision or amendment and thus wether it can even be on the ballot or has to go to a constitutional convention (whcih takes years to get together).

    If I can contact your mayor then you SF people can make telephone calls and visits to his office.

  17. John says


    Don’t look to Jerry Brown for any help. The “moonbeam” reputation is grossly overstated. In fact, he was the governor who signed the Marriage Act of 1977 that explicitly outlawed same-sex marriage in the first place.

    Before 1977, marriage in California was officially “undefined” in the statutes (as in Rhode Island, New Mexico, and a handful of other states). Although, of course, it was limited to man-woman in practice because of common law.

    As with everything else in California, all is not as it seems. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example of that. We have a Republican governor who’s actually more liberal on social issues than the Democratic governor who preceded him.

  18. Mike says

    I have been able to contact the governors office. However, I have had an issue with the press 1-5-1-1. Everytime, I have pressed 1-5- and got to the next 1. The system ends the call. Has anyone else had this issue? How did you get through? Thanks!

  19. Zeke says

    No FERNANDO, sorry for YOU because that was not a New York Times poll as you claimed. That would have been obvious to you had you actually read the article that you linked. It was a story in the NYT referencing an LA Times poll. According to comparative studies the LA Times/Bloomberg poll is historically less accurate than the Field Poll which produced the results that are being discussed here.

    In 2008 the LA Times poll is ranked #22 in accuracy among national polling companies whereas the Field Poll is ranked #6 in accuracy.

  20. says

    I think the solution is simple, if this goes on the ballot: come November, we must kidnap all registered voters aged 65 or older.

    It’s the only way. }: }

  21. Justin S says

    The challenges will certainly be interesting. the attorney in the lost oregon case is also the same aoorney in the California case. The attorney argued (INCORRECTLY???) that it was a revision because it is in the right to privacy. No such case in OR ever found the right to privacy and expressly ruled that there was no revision because the right to marry is not found there, that atttorney is not dumb. I wonder if, knowing the right to marry is found in the right to privacy in CA, the attorney can point to it in CA to support the reasoning. I believe the OR case has no bearing on the case but the Court does read what other cuorts do.
    Maybe the attorney made an argument that could not win in OR to win in CA?
    I thing the amendment will alter the basic framework now set in the constitution becasues as best I can tell it from trying to read the cases out there, the government provides the instututional basis for defining the fundamental rights of marriage. Wouldn’t any change to that be a revision and not an amendment?