Majority of Californians support marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

March 25th, 2010

CA marriage graph
For the first time, the PPIC Statewide Survey reports that a majority of Californians support same-sex marriage. 2,002 Californians were surveyed and there is a +/- 2% margin of error.

Participants were asked

“do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?”

50% favor
45% oppose
5% I don’t know

Various demographics supported marriage equality:

64% Democrats
55% Independents
28% Republicans
55% whites
43% Latinos

This polling suggests a 6% increase in support within the past year, which is quite significant. The survey does not report what contributed to this change in thinking and it is difficult to identify what may have happened since last March that could have led to the change.

However, if I were to guess, I think it is possible that there were two counter-acting public responses to the anti-8 rallies, marches, and protests. It may be that these public demonstrations caused some voters to realize for the first time that the gay community was upset and angry about being denied equality and caused them to consider that anti-gay votes are discriminatory. There may also have been some backlash from some voters who felt that the gay community was behaving lawlessly.

Over the past year the public image of angry marches may have diminished and those upset by it may have become calmer, while the concept of inequality and unfairness raised by the marches may have germinated and resulted in increased support, yielding a net increase. This is, of course, only speculation.

Additionally, the PPIC confirmed that Californians strongly favor allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military. A total of 75% (and a majority in every demographic) agreed.


March 25th, 2010

There’s also the trial itself, which really made it clear for those who were following that it wasn’t about protecting anything but the right of bigots to discriminate.


March 25th, 2010

And lets not forget the work of those of us on the ground in Cali who are doing our thing. Holding discussions in churches, talking to our neighbors, sharing our experience with coworkers. I can only hope that part of the change is from LGBT people who actually started taking the fight for equality seriously after we lost Prop 8. Before that too many were too complacent.


March 25th, 2010

“do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?”

Yes and No?? What does that mean? This is not a yes or no question! Dear lord, I hope it wasn’t written that way, because if it was, the answers are useless.

(Reminds me of a form I had to fill out to get a new driver’s lisence when I moved: “My right to drive has never been suspended.” Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ WTF?)

Timothy Kincaid

March 25th, 2010


Thanks for catching that error. It was “favor” and “oppose” instead of “yes” and “no”

If you have other questions about the language of the survey, you can click on the link provided

Priya Lynn

March 25th, 2010

“For the first time, the PPIC Statewide Survey reports that a majority of Californians support same-sex marriage”.

As I recall there were a number of polls prior to prop 8 that showed a majority of Californians opposed to the measure (in favour of allowing equal marriage).


March 25th, 2010

I guess it’s a little late to quibble about methodology but since religion is such an important demographic, it seems the pollsters really ought to be tracking results based on the shifting attitudes religious people have.



March 25th, 2010


Thank you! That’s good news, then. Having seen how some of these things are worded, I was afraid. But, I should have checked out the link first!


March 25th, 2010

As usual I’m skeptical of these polls, but it’s encouraging that it WAS accurate in saying that most were against same sex marriage right around the Prop 8 vote, so perhaps it’s accurate now.. Looking good for 2012 in any case..


March 25th, 2010

This poll is being conducted at a time when Mormons aren’t spending tens of millions on lying television ads about gay and lesbian Californians.

Priya Lynn

March 25th, 2010

Yes, I wouldn’t get my hopes up about this poll, it may not be durable support. A few months before prop 8 I recall a string of polls showing the measure being defeated. Once the lies started filling the airways the polls changed.


March 25th, 2010

Let’s run this through the shrieking slanders of a 6-month Mormon campaign and the anonymity of the ballot box and see how things come out. Sorry to be a debbie downer, but I think Maine and California have taught us that we should reflexively subtract 5-10 points from pre-campaign polls.

I also think the language of the poll question was good for us. You get some pretty big anti-gay swings from calling it “gay marriage” as opposed to “the right to get married,” and you get even bigger swings if you use the word homosexual. Any half competent anti-gay campaign is going emphasize the dichotomy between “gay marriage” and “traditional marriage,” in addition to plastering “homosexual activists” everywhere and wallpapering the entire phantasmagoria in pictures of wide-eyed children recounting how their teachers forced them at gunpoint to participate in a lesson on how to commit homosexual sodomy.

Priya Lynn

March 25th, 2010

I don’t recall any polls being out by 10 points on election day, five maybe.

Rob in San diego

March 25th, 2010

I don’t buy this report until you count every single Californian. Cause I guarantee you that not one person I know who voted YES had changed their vote to NO.


March 25th, 2010

I wouldn’t get my hopes up about this poll. The question is not how many voters support same-sex marriage, the question is how many voters can be bothered to actually vote in an election to repeal Prop. 8. My experience with progressives in CA is that, while they’re not the “Party of No,” they are the party of “Not My Problem, Who Cares?”.

Mark F.

March 25th, 2010

Well, if you understand statistics you will know not to place too much confidence in one poll. Maybe attitudes have changed, but maybe this poll just represents a normal statistical variation and there has really been no real change of opinion.

I suspect the marriage ban can get repealed in 2012, but it will be close.


March 25th, 2010

These polls always show that there are 25 – 30% of people who believe that gay people should be allowed to fight and die for other people’s rights as long as they don’t dare ask for them for themselves when they get home from combat.

Lynn David

March 25th, 2010

Give it four years….


March 26th, 2010

There were plenty of other pollings of California on this subject by e.g. Field Poll, SurveyUSA, and others.

As I recall, consensus support percentage for gay marriage legalization found in those polls in aggregate after adjusting for systematic biases:

2006: 46%
2007: 47%
2008: 48% (48.3% ‘no’ vote on Prop. 8)
2009: 49%

50% in 2010 seems about right. As would be 52% in 2012.


March 26th, 2010

I agree with Lynn, the trend is nice but we probably need at least 4 more years before we’ll be able to reverse Prop 8. Once the anti-gay machine starts up during a repeal effort we’ll need more than a bare majority in the polls to cross the finish line in triumph because we’re bound to lose a couple of points to scare tactics.


March 26th, 2010

The Mormon Church will have to raize more cash!


March 26th, 2010

Mormons (non-Californians) will no-doubt dump copious amounts of cash into each and every other initiative via NOM.
Where is the Political Practices investigation? What are the Commission’s responsibilities here?

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