Field Poll: Californians Support Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

May 28th, 2008

California Field Poll ResultsContrary to last week’s Los Angeles Times/KTLA poll, a new Field Poll released yesterday (PDF: 49KB/8 pages) shows a historic shift in California voters’ support for same-sex marriage. For the first time in history, a majority of California voters now say they support same-sex marriage and oppose a proposed anti-marriage state constitutional amendment.

The poll, taken after the California Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage, asked two groups of voters differently worded questions about same sex marriage. When they were asked about “barring marriage between gay and lesbian couples,” they opposed the ban by 54 to 40 percent. When voters were asked whether they favored or opposed “having the state constitution prohibit same-sex marriage,” they opposed the ban, 51 to 43 percent. The margin of error for these two questions was +/- 5.0%. The maximum margin of error overall was 3.2%.

There were some interesting generational differences:

Age Group Percent Supporting Same-Sex Marriage
18-29 60%
30-39 58%
40-49 51%
50-64 47%
65+ 36%

And there were some religious differences as well. Born-again Christians opposed same-sex marriage by 68% to 24%. Protestants in general were opposed, 57% to 34% , and Catholics were were narrowly opposed, 48% to 45%. Voters from other religious groups favored same-sex marriage by 61% to 33%, while people with no religious affiliation supported same-sex marriage by 81% to 12%.

Daniel Gonzales

May 28th, 2008

Also expected to be on the ballot in CA this November is a 20 billion dollar high speed rail system. Nothing gets us young liberal urban elitist folk excited (and to the polls hopefully) like the dream of high speed rail transit. That same group also tends to come down overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality. Hopefully we’ll see some synergy come November.


May 28th, 2008

Good news! If Arizona could defeat a gay marriage ban, I hope California can too.

But… bad spelling! I caught “votors” and “marraige” (twice). Hopefully all of the numbers were correct.

Timothy Kincaid

May 28th, 2008

This may be an odd way to look at this poll, but I’m excited about the polling results of those who are in the opposing groups.

According to this poll:

24% of born again Christians
11% of strongly conservative people
25% of Republicans
38% of residents of the Central Valley
45% of Catholics

all support marriage equality.

“Common knowledge” says that ALL of these folks should oppose gay marriage. That sizeable minorities within these categories support gay marriage tells us a great deal about the future of gay issues as a wedge in politics.

It’s exciting to see this poll. But considering the LA Times poll it’s hard to know what it means. I’ll cautiously celebrate but we must still work very hard to defeat this amendment.

Jason D

May 28th, 2008

Yeah, Californian’s don’t let this be like Bush vs Gore, don’t rest on your laurels and assume it’s a done deal.

I don’t know if anyone can address this, but I’ve heard rumors that even if a ban passed, it would be nullified because :

A) The Supreme Court ruling in some way nullfies or prohibits amending the CA constitution.

–and or–

B) The CA constitution cannot contradict itself. If it says “equality before the law” in one place, it can’t say “no marriage for gays” in another. Something similar to not being allowed to amend the US constitution to invalidate the Bill of Rights.


May 28th, 2008

Affirmation (gay Mormons) has issued a press release asking the LDS Church stay out of California politics.

Not likely to happen but I wonder if Californians will take kindly to Vatican West meddling with politics in another State. Oh…that’s right, Orange County is nearly all Mormon and all the Salt Lake connections to Disneyland can’t be ignored.

At least Affirmation got a reaction in the news. The comments on is blisteringly high and likely to melt their server.


May 28th, 2008

Amendements to the US Constitution can override existing amendments. That’s why we can drink alcohol legally again (cheers!). Is there any reason we couldn’t pass an amendment that would supercede one of the first 10? The “Bill of Rights” isn’t legally untouchable is it? It’s just politically and culturally hard to imagine changing those amendments because they are considered central to the American project.

In the case of the California constitution, an amendment would certainly supercede a judicial ruling. The recent ruling said that the state can’t offer equivalent opposite-sex marriage and same-sex domestic partnerships, so it seems possible that the result of the amendment would be that nobody at all could get married in California, or that the state couldn’t offer same-sex domestic partnerships. I’ve actually been looking for some analysis of what the legal implications of the proposed amendment might be. It’s one of those things that seems simple (just adding one line to the constitution) but the implications could be far wider (and wilder).


May 28th, 2008

Werdna: “I’ve actually been looking for some analysis of what the legal implications of the proposed amendment might be.”

A good place to start would be Leonard Link


May 28th, 2008


Actually, drinking alcohol has never been illegal for adults in this country. Prohibition just outlawed the commercial manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol. A few counties in some states still maintain prohibition.


May 29th, 2008

howller, thants for the link, very good stuff.

Mark, yes fine, you’ve out niggled me. ;-)

My point was just (in response to Jason D’s questions) that an amendment to a constitution (US or state) will supercede any existing part of the constitution with which it conflicts. Another example would be the 14th Amendment which (among other things) rescinded the “3/5 compromise” found in the main body of the US Constitution.


May 29th, 2008

Parts of the constitution may grant rights that are opposed to each other (such as the right to information vs the right to privacy). The principle used by the Supreme Court in the USA (and followed in most other democracies) is that a law may restrict a constitutional right only by invoking another.
But “marriage between gay and lesbian couples” surely means a gay couple marrying a lesbian couple. Shouldn’t it be “marriage between gay or lesbian partners” or “marriage for gay and lesbian couples”?

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