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Religious Tolerance logo

Support for/opposition to same-sex marriage (SSM) in California

2010 to 2013: Field Research Corporation and
Goodwin Simon Strategic Research polls.

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Mid-2010: Poll by the Field Research Corporation -- the "Field Poll:"

Data was collected from 1,390 registered voters in California between 2010-JUN-22 and 2010-JUL-05. The poll's margin of error is ±2.8 percentage points.

As stated in this essay's menu:

  • When asked about allowing same-sex couples to marry and having regular marriage laws apply to them, results were identical to those of the PRRI poll:

    • 51% would vote to allow same-sex marriage (SSMs).
    • 42% to keep same-sex marriage illegal.
    • 7% Didn’t know or refused to answer.

  • When asked how should gay relationships be handled, preferences were similar to the PRRI poll -- well within the margin of error:
    • 44% favored allowing them to marry.
    • 34% favored allowing them to enter civil unions but not marry.
    • 19% wanted no legal recognition of gay relationships at all; they should be considered as "legal strangers" to each other; as roommates.
    • 3% don't know or refuse to answer. 1

These overall averages for voters in the state obscure some major differences among groups in California. The level of support for SSM varies within the following groupings, by political affiliation, age, gender, race/nationality, and supporters for gubernatorial candidates:

  • Democrats: 68%
  • Republicans: 26%
  • Others: 52%

  • 18 to 29-year-olds: 68%
  • 65 or older: 42%

  • Male: 47%
  • Female: 54%

  • White non-Hispanic: 53%
  • Latino: 50%
  • Chinese-American: 41%
  • African-American: 38%
  • Vietnamese-American: 32%
  • Korean-American: 25%

  • Supporters of Jerry Brown (D) for governor: 74%
  • Supporters of Meg Whitman (R): 26% 1

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2011-SEP: Goodwin Simon Strategic Research poll:

These results were based on a small survey of voters who were likely to actually vote in 2012-NOV. The pollsters contacted 602 randomly selected persons in either English or Spanish. The margin of error is ±4.0%. Results were very similar to the Field Poll described above. The question asked was: "Do you favor or oppose allowing same-sex couples to be legally married? results were:

  • 51% favor SSM:
    • 38% strongly,12% somewhat.
  • 44% oppose SSM:
    • 39% strongly, 5% somewhat.

These data compare with 47% support and 48% opposition in 2009-MAY. (N = 1,794; margin of error = ±2.8%)

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2012-FEB: Field Poll reports support for SSM has increased to almost 60%:

The Field Poll has been sampling public opinion about SSM for the past thirty-five years. A poll conducted in 2012-FEB among registered voters and announced on FEB-29 showed that:

  • 59% favored allowing same-sex couples to marry and have regular marriage laws apply to them.
  • 34% disapproved
  • 7% had no opinion or did not answer.
  • The margin of support -- 25% -- is the largest we have seen so far in the U.S.

They also asked voters which of three laws recognizing same-sex relationships they would prefer:

  • 51% favored same-sex marriage.
  • 29% favored civil unions but not marriage
  • 15% favored no legal recognition of their relationship; they would be considered as "legal strangers" or simple roommates. 2

Some sub-groups among registered voters who showed the greatest support (60% or more) are:

  • Democrats at 69%
  • Independents at 67%
  • Political liberals at 89%
  • Politically middle-of-the-road at 64%
  • Ages 18 to 39: 69%
  • Females: 60%
  • White: 64%
  • Single and never married: 71%
  • Non-Christian religions: 85%
  • No religious affiliation: 80%.

Some sub-groups among voters increased their support for SSM by 10 percentage points or more between 2010 and 2012-FEB:

  • Republicans by 13 percentage points
  • Independents by 15 percentage points
  • Conservatives by 10 percentage points
  • Ages 40 to 64 by 13 percentage points
  • Males by 11 percentage points
  • Whites by 11 percentage points
  • Separated, divorced or widowed by 12 percentage points
  • Protestants by 11 percentage points
  • Non-Christian faiths by 10 percentage points. 2

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2013-FEB: Field Poll reports support for SSM has increased to above 60%:

The polling results shows that only two identified groups still oppose SSM: Republicans and Protestants. In addition, their level of support for SSM has not significantly changed between 2012 and 2013.

However, by 2013-FEB, voters in California have increased their support for SSM by two percentage points to 61% and decreased their opposition by 2 percentage points to 32% since 2013-FEB. Within a few years, support for SSM should reach two thirds among California voters. 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Release #2349: Voter sentiment remains on the side of allowing same-sex marriage in California," Field Research Corporation 2010-JUL-20, at: This is a PDF file.
  2. "Big increase in California voters who favor allowing same-sex marriage," The Field Poll, 2012-FEB-29, at:
  3. "Record majority of California voters approves of allowing same-sex marriage," The Field Poll, 2013-FEB-28, at:
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Site navigation:

Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > Polls > here

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Portions copyright © 2010 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2010-JUL-30
Latest update: 2013-JUL-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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