California | Gay Marriage | News | Proposition 8

Massive Report on California's Proposition 8 Campaign Released


A massive, 511-page report on Proposition 8 underwritten by The LGBT Mentoring Project has been released. It's very easy for people to read the entire report, or just a section. The goal of the report was to learn about winning future ballot measures on same-sex marriage.

Prop8  It's all here — readable as sections here — and the entire report can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Before you read any of it, you will want to watch the short video by the report's author, Dave Fleischer. 

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Fleischer also writes about the study in the L.A. Times. Here's part of it:

The lesson: It's not enough to make the case for same-sex marriage. It's also important to arm voters — particularly parents — against an inevitable propaganda attack. And it's crucial to rebut lies so parents don't panic.

Another misconception was that those who voted for Proposition 8 were motivated by hate. This does not describe most of the 687,000 who changed their minds in the closing weeks. After all, they supported same-sex marriage before the opposition peeled them away. Yes, they turned out to be susceptible to an appeal based on anti-gay prejudice. But they were frightened by misinformation. No on 8's one TV ad that directly responded to the fear-mongering helped assuage some of the fear, but it was too little, too late.

One final false assumption by same-sex marriage supporters was that the election was so close that it will be easy to pass same-sex marriage the next time out.

It's true that the official election results — 52% to 48% — appeared quite close. But the truth is more complicated. The data we analyzed show that the No on 8 campaign benefitted from voter confusion.

Polling suggests that half a million people who opposed same-sex marriage mistakenly voted against the proposition. They were confused by the idea that a "no" vote was actually a vote for gay marriage. This "wrong-way voting" affected both sides, but overwhelmingly it helped the "no" side. Our analysis suggests that the division among California voters on same-sex marriage at the time of Proposition 8 was actually 54% to 46% — not so close. We are actually 1 million votes away from being able to reverse Proposition 8.

Eqca In light of the new report, Equality California contacted Towleroad yesterday to let us know what it has been doing since Prop 8 passed to get the state ready to go back to the ballot for marriage equality. Here's what they told us.

Many of these efforts around marriage are being carried out by Let California Ring. Let California Ring is a coalition-led 501c3 public education campaign hosted by the Equality California Institute. Here’s what we are doing now:

— We have field organizers stationed across the state. Each week they and our thousands of volunteers are doing phone banks, door-to-door canvasses and in-person outreach to build support for marriage equality and to grow our volunteer team. Our field program has had over 900,000 conversations about equality across the state in a little over a year.

— Let California Ring currently has three committees:

* LCR’s messaging committee is working with a consultant -- Storefront Political Media -- to craft and test the most effective messages possible to move people to support marriage equality.

* A committee that includes the Jordan Rustin Coalition and HONOR Fund will soon be conducting pilot campaigns in Latino and African-American communities. These pilot campaigns will rely largely on door-to-door canvassing in order to test messages and approaches. LCR is also working with API Equality in Los Angeles and San Francisco on research efforts.

* LCR’s family committee is launching a statewide Speakers’ Bureau through which married same-sex couples will share their stories and build support in their communities.

— We are collaborating with California Faith for Equality on messaging around faith issues. We’re also collaborating to mobilize volunteers from progressive churches, organize Catholics and make the case for marriage equality in mainstream Christian denominations.

— Along with Freedom to Marry, GLAAD and Third Way, we are working on psychographic research on the issue of teaching same-sex marriage in schools. We’re partnering with groups focused on LGBT family and youth issues, such as the Our Family Coalition, GSA Network and the Family Equality Council.

Watch Dave Fleischer's intro to the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The problem is history repeats itself. We all knew (or should have known) the shit storm of lies which were going to be thrown our way - the response, tepid ads. The politicians were not speaking out in our favor. Where was Obama and his ilk? I hope we have learned our lesson, but somehow I doubt it. Election campaigns are nasty business, we've got to be willing to kick ass.

    On another note, Prop 19 has the chance to be a major game changer. The ridiculous lies have already started... "forcing schools to sell marijuana", "reefer madness in the streets." It will be interesting to see if the truth wins or if people again are fooled by "be afraid, be very afraid".

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 3, 2010 8:41:38 AM

  2. The reality of Prop H8's passage has almost nothing to do with the campaign (weak though it was) that was waged by both sides. Most people had already made up their minds, and no commercials, phone calls or door-to-door campaigning changed minds or votes. This is as much a generational issue as anything else, so until the older generation starts dying out, not much is going to change here in California. I give it about 20 years before we see any significant change and have a viable opportunity to overturn Prop H8 (unless the courts do this for us, which I don't see likely at the SCOTUS level in my lifetime).

    Posted by: Keith | Aug 3, 2010 10:17:35 AM

  3. Prop 8, at the least, has brought the whole question into the mainstream... increasingly, people recognize 2 items;

    first- another couple's legal protection realistically has no effect whatsoever on another private citizen's,

    second- that personal rights should not be decided at a ballot box.

    It's a whole lotta ugly, but when it's over- I'm hopeful that the larger lesson will once again be preservation of personal freedom.

    Posted by: stephen | Aug 3, 2010 11:28:50 AM

  4. Here's the lesson from a voter led proposition on the rights of a minority group - IT SHOULDN'T FUCKING HAPPEN.

    The ONLY way to protect the rights of a minority against a majority is through the court system and the legislature. That anybody thinks there is anything to be learnt by having to persuade people that your life is as valuable as there's is kidding themselves. Do you think that folks in Alabama would have allowed African Americans to vote unless they had been forced to? Do you think unless it had been the law for the past 50 years they would allow it now?

    Stop donating money to public image campaigns. Drop out of this debate on moral grounds and instead lobby the court system to make it right. It will go on for another 50 years if we spread the money around instead of focussing it solely on the court system, where people with an intellect higher then a grade schooler are supposed to be making informed decisions.

    Posted by: James | Aug 3, 2010 11:41:04 AM

  5. @Keith

    "Most people had already made up their minds..."

    Actually, I looked at a little bit of this report and the reports says exactly the opposite.

    The report identified groups that did move in the last 6 weeks of the Prop 8 campaign. Those groups included older Latinos (who became more favorable to gay marriage) and white Democrats (who became less favorable to gay marriage).

    Having worked on the ground in Maine myself (and this report covers Maine a little bit), I tend to agree with the report. As I was working over the phones and even in the field, there really were more undecided voters than I anticipated.

    I think that one thing that both the Yes On 1 and the Yes On 8 people did was that the convinced undecided voters; and our side seems to have ceded that to them.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Aug 3, 2010 11:50:56 AM

  6. In the privacy of the voting booth, people will vote against us. Even if they wouldn't admit to it publicly.

    Posted by: Wrecks | Aug 3, 2010 1:25:02 PM

  7. James is right. The majority should absolutely never be given the chance to decide what rights a minority has. This is one of the primary reasons the court system was created.

    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court will not vote in our favor until some of the conservative justices leave. And when they do, you better hope there's a democratic president. This is the best reason to vote democratic, in my opinion.

    Even with a large majority in both houses of Congress, the procedural filibuster gives the Republicans all the power they need to halt progress.

    Civil right for our community will come when the Supreme Court has more liberal justices. Keep voting DEMOCRAT!

    Of course, the Supreme Court will also never rule in our favor when public sentiment is strongly opposed to gay marriage. We don't need a majority of the country to agree, but we need to be close to it, so I disagree with James on that front -- public image campaigns are still important.

    Posted by: Chip | Aug 3, 2010 1:51:39 PM

  8. This report, commissioned by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center from one of its own employees, contains much valuable information and good insights. But it is severely flawed in some of its conclusions. With regard to the "finding" that the election was not as close as the election results show, that is hogwash. This conclusion is based solely on a tracking poll whose results were so far off from all other polling that the No on 8 campaign had to fire the pollster. There is no data for the period October 29 through November 3, 2008. The pollster that did poll for that crucial last week, David Binder, completely disagrees with Fleischer's assertions on wrong way voting. Nor does the report look at exit polling data which is the only measure of how voters actually decided on election day. There were in fact several exit polls done in 2008, not just the much maligned CNN poll. Thus, to the extent the report addresses shift on opinion for dates on which the poll it relies has data, it is valuable. When it makes a guess as to how many people were confused and on what side on election day based on data from a week before, it is NOT credible. Mr. Fleischer, by the way, is neither a pollster nor a statistician. What we fear is that this report will be misused to quash a ballot proposition in 2012 thereby postponing into the indefinite future the fight to restore equality in California.

    Posted by: Lester Aponte | Aug 3, 2010 5:14:47 PM

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