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Prop 8 Survey Exposes Deep Rifts Over Same-Sex Marriage

Partisan Divide Also Emerges in Votes on High-Speed Rail, Abortion Restrictions, and Redistricting

SAN FRANCISCO, California, December 3, 2008 — Proposition 8, the ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state, drew its strongest support from evangelical Christians and Republicans, according to a post-election survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. Majorities of Latinos, voters without a college degree, and those age 55 and older also backed the measure, which passed by a 4–point margin (52% yes, 48% no).

In a history-making presidential election that energized voters, California’s 12 state ballot propositions generated high interest as well. Eight in 10 voters (81%) report that they followed news about the measures at least fairly closely, and a solid majority (63%) say they were most interested in Proposition 8. The survey, which polled 2,003 voters from November 5–16, finds these differences between Proposition 8 supporters and opponents:

* Evangelical or born-again Christians (85%) were far more likely than others (42%) to vote yes.

* Three in four Republicans (77%) voted yes, two in three Democrats (65%) voted no, and independents were more closely divided (52% yes, 48% no).

* Supporters of Republican presidential candidate John McCain were far more likely than those who backed President-elect Barack Obama to vote yes (85% vs. 30%).

* Latinos (61%) were more likely than whites (50%) to vote yes; and 57 percent of Latinos, Asians, and blacks combined voted yes. (Samples sizes for Asians and blacks are too small to report separately.)

* Voters without a college degree (62%) were far more likely than college graduates (43%) to vote yes.

* While most voters (65%) consider the outcome of Proposition 8 to be very important, the measure’s supporters (74%) are far more likely than those who voted no (59%) to view the outcome as very important.

When voters are asked the separate question of whether they favor or oppose same-sex marriage, they are divided, with 47 percent in favor, 48 percent opposed, and 5 percent unsure—a result consistent with responses in the October PPIC pre-election survey.

“In our surveys, Californians have been closely divided on the issue of same-sex marriage for the last three years,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president, CEO, and survey director. “Proposition 8 had highly motivated supporters and a well-funded campaign, and in the end, they prevailed.”

The reason that voters most frequently cite in voting for Proposition 8 is that marriage between only a man and a woman should be recognized (63%); 16 percent mention religious objections. Most Californians who voted no (70%) say they did so because same-sex couples should be given the freedoms and rights guaranteed to everyone.

Click here to see our prop 8 debate.



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