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New Poll Shows Opposition To Repeal of Prop 8 effort in 2010

A new LATimes/USC poll was released Friday regarding voter attitudes about Gay Marriage. A year after Proposition 8 removed the rights of same-gender couples to get married it seems that little has changed. 

LAT-USC Poll LogoAccording to the poll, a narrow 51% majority support marriage equalitywith 43% opposed. In addition, the LATimes reports that despite the majority support for marriage equality, a significant 60% of Californians do not want to revisit the matter in 2010.

In November 2008, California voters decided 52% to 48% that marrige should be limited to unions between one man and one woman, amending the State Constitution to reverse an earlier State Supreme Court decision legalizing same-gender marriage.  Voters in Maine this past Tuesday reached the same conclusion by virtually the same margin 53% to 47%.

Marriage equality advocates have been divided over when would be the best time to attempt a repeal of the Prop 8 initiative. Ballot language has been submitted to the Attorney General for review, the first step ahead of signature gathering and placement of an initiative on the November 2010 ballot. Fundraising efforts are also underway to raise the estimated $1 million needed to fund signature gathering efforts.

This poll provides added weight to the arguments of those who favor holding off until 2012. The results support the opinions of ballot initiative experts that 2010 is not the right time to move forward. It should be interesting to see if this poll has any effect moving advocates on either side of the debate to a new position.

From the LATimes story:

The California findings come from a new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Sciences poll. The survey, which interviewed 1,500 registered voters from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3, was conducted for the Times and USC by two nationally prominent polling firms, the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies. The results have a margin of error of +/-2.6 percentage points. Full results of the poll, including the status of the campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate, will be published Sunday in the Times and on latimes.com.

The survey showed that same-sex marriage continues to reverberate differently along race and generational lines. Just over half of whites backed it, while just under half of African Americans and Latinos did.

All three groups, however, opposed having to vote on it in 2010. (Asians were questioned by the poll and included in the overall sample, but their numbers were statistically too small to isolate.) Young voters continued to be far more supportive of gay marriage rights than their elders.

Among those ages 18-29, 71% said they supported same-sex marriage; among those 65 and older, only 37% favored it. Younger voters were also one of the few groups who backed putting it on the 2010 ballot, which will be dominated by the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

The difference in views by age likely explains, in part, the changing results in California on same-sex marriage. In 2000, voters outlawed it by a margin of 61%-39%; by last November’s ballot, opposition had slipped significantly. Election results differ from poll results, of course, because not everyone polled will cast ballots.

I doubt that the people pushing for a repeal initiative in 2010 will be deterred from their efforts. The results of this poll only confirm what has already been known, and discounted by the 2010 advocates. The 2010 advocates have taken the position that if they put the initiative on the ballot there will be a groundswell of support for it. No matter how shortsighted it may be, the appeal of fighting a ballot battle out of principle is far stronger than the pragmatism of a slow and steady approach. In the world of the 2010 advocates, history and the reality of slowly changing voter attitudes don’t matter. For them the answer is quite simple…

Damn the polls; FULL SPEED AHEAD.