Poll: No Movement on Proposition 8

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2008

The Public Policy Institute of California released a poll yesterday showing that Proposition 8 continues to have limited appeal.

Proposition 8, which would amend the state Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman, is trailing 40% to 54% among likely voters, according to the poll. In a separate question, pollsters asked respondents if they support or oppose allowing gay men and lesbians to marry. On that question, Californians were evenly split, 47% to 47%.

This is the fourth major poll and it confirms the results of previous polling and seems to illustrate that the LA Times poll was likely an anomaly:

May 20-21, LA Times

54% Yes
35% No

May 17-26, Field Poll (average of two questions)

42% Yes
53% No

July 8-14, Field Poll

42% Yes
51% No

August 12-19, PPIC

40% Yes
54% No

Other than the LA Times poll, these are all within the margin of error and seem to indicate that the opposition to the proposition is fairly solid.

I’ve not seen the response of Yes on Proposition 8, but I can project a couple likely claims.

The anti-marriage activists will likely point to the question about whether Californians favor allowing same-sex couples to marry and announce that less than half of Californians are in favor. They may also claim that this is a decrease (though the PPIC reports that this hasn’t changed since August 2005).

Additionally I suspect that they will point out that anti-marriage Californians are more passionate in their support for Proposition 8; and the PPIC report does support that claim. Of those intending to vote yes, 57% said the outcome is “very important” while only 44% of those opposing Proposition 8 placed the outcome in the highest level of importance. Those stating the results to be “somewhat important” were 29% and 31%, respectively.

However, even if only those who place the highest importance on the results of the vote showed up at the polls, opponents would still outnumber supporters. And if “somewhat important” voters are added in, the proposition would lose in a landslide.

L. Junius Brutus

August 28th, 2008

Actually, SurveyUSA has polled California a few times, the first time showing the proposition winning 52-36 (it was in the Breaking News section, and no longer available). One month after the decision, it showed the proposition winning 44-38%, even though 56% favored same-sex marriage (I have this one as a PDF). But SurveyUSA does poorly when it comes to propositions, it also predicted that California would pass the parental notification proposition in a landslide. But here’s the trendline: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollTrack.aspx?g=8098379d-ba5c-4c9b-9326-d29c3170ec03

I’m waiting for a new Field poll that includes the changes in the wording. I will be happy if it loses by 10% (45-55). I will be ecstatic if it loses by 20 (40-60).

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2008

I was unable to find Survey USA’s methodology or confidence level. Further I noted that they surveyed “all adults” rather than registered voters or likely voters (very different groups in CA).

I’m not too familiar with Survey USA, but from what I see I’m not very impressed nor likely to place much faith in their surveys.

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