Same-sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships in California
Polling data about Prop. 8
Field public opinion polls about SSM -- 1997 to 2008:
California Field Polls have shown that support for SSM among California registered voters has steadily increased in recent years. In 2008, most voters favored SSM for the first time:
The California Field Poll survey for 2008 cited above sampled 672 likely voters during the week of July 8 to 14.
They found that:
This survey was conducted between MAY-17 and MAY-26, after the court decision legalized SSM. 1,052 registered voters were contacted over the phone. The margin of error is about ±3 percentage points.
Anything over 50% support for the Proposition would would pass it. However, there is a debate whether Prop 8 is a simple amendment to the Constitution or represents a more major change -- a revision. Proponents of Prop. 8 believe that it is a minor amendment. Those supporting marriage equity generally believe that it is a revision. If it is the latter, then the California legislature would have to approve the change.
Prop 8 did narrowly pass. Its future will undoubtedly be determined by the Supreme Court of California.
Additional polls taken during 2008:
* Public Policy Institute of California.
It is difficult to compare data from different polling agencies. The pollsters phrase the question differently; this can easily sway the results. Some highly biases questions might be:
No reputable polling agency would phrase questions like this. But we have seen polling questions almost this bad.
2008-OCT-04 poll shows shift in favor of Prop 8:
SurveyUSA conducted a poll of 670 likely voters. Each was asked: "Proposition 8 would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. It changes the California Constitution so that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California. On Proposition 8, are you ... Certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain." The margin of error is ± 3.9 percentage points.
Asians and Blacks were more likely than Whites to vote yes; Hispanics were more likely to vote no.
Republicans, conservatives, and religious service attendees were more in favor of Prop 8; Democrats. liberals and those who never attend religious services were opposed. 2
2008-OCT-09 poll shows approval of Prop 8 likely:
Geoff Kors, a member of the Vote No on Prop. 8 executive committee reported on his group's survey that indicated 47% of likely voters favor the proposition and 43% oppose it. He said:
"Our most recent polling data shows us four points behind. And unless we raise significant new dollars, we will not be able to compete with the proponents on television."
Steve Smith, the senior campaign strategist for the group said:
"While our poll didn't surprise us, it did confirm that we were starting to lose ground because we simply cannot match the proponents dollar for dollar on television, We wanted to let the LGBT community know that there is a level of complacency and false sense of security, and we wanted to set the record straight. Public polls have given everyone the impression that this campaign is over--it's already won. Nothing could be further from the truth." 5
Are these polls accurate?
If the polling questions are unbiased, the poll data are generally accurate within the margin of error to a 95% level of confidence. That is, if the poll were replicated 20 times with different subjects, the results would probably be within the margin of error about 19 times.
However, there may be a discrepancy between polling data taken just before the election and the results of the election for a variety of reasons:
"In the 2000 primary election, Proposition 22 passed with a margin eight points greater than predicted by one polling organization. The Field Poll immediately prior to the election showed 53% of likely voters in favor. Other polls conducted in the same month showed 57% of voters supported the measure. The actual vote in favor was 61.4% of votes cast (of all ballots, 58.6% voted yes, 36.9% voted no, and 4.5% did not vote).
An analysis by Patrick J. Egan [an associate professor of politics at] ... New York University suggests that such gaps have been falling steadily over recent years. Seven of the states that voted on marriage bans in 2006 have polling data available. In those, the average gap between polled support for the measure and the final outcome was under one percentage point. 3,4
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious