A brand new poll (pdf) from the Public Policy Institute of California shows majority support for marriage equality for the first time with 50% of Californians supporting marriage for same-sex couples while 45% oppose equality under the law. The margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points.
Equality California's reaction and a look under the hood at the poll's internals to explain this surprising (but very welcome) result, below the fold:
Equality California has released a statement from executive director Geoff Kors in response to the new information:
“We are very pleased that the more than 700,000 conversations about marriage that Equality California has initiated over the past year with Californians across the state, alongside our tireless volunteers and coalition partners, are making a remarkable difference. We are seeing the tremendous impact of reaching out, one-on-one, to change hearts and minds toward equality and fairness.
“Moving forward, we are committed to having more than 1 million conversations with voters in order to achieve solid majority support by 2012, when we will return to the ballot to restore the freedom to marry.”
It should be noted that marriage equality in California has reached 50% support once before, in the May 28, 2008 Field poll (pdf) released less than two weeks after the In Re Marriage Cases California Supreme Court ruling but before marriages had actually begun happening on June 16th.
The new poll is unusual in that it shows that difference in support for marriage from Democrats (64%) is basically the same as the opposition from Republicans (67%). Generally, Republicans oppose marriage at a much higher rate than Democrats support it, so that even though there are more Democrats than Republicans in California, the overall result usually ends up tipped to the opposition side of the scale. Let's look at the internals:
Majorities of Democrats (64%) and independents (55%) favor allowing same-sex marriage, while a majority of Republicans (67%) oppose it. Since last March, support is up a slight 4 points among Democrats, 8 points among independents, and 6 points among Republicans. Support is far from unanimous across regions and demographic groups. Central Valley residents oppose allowing same-sex marriage (51% oppose, 42% favor), while San Francisco Bay Area residents favor it (64% favor, 30% oppose). Residents are divided in Los Angeles (46% favor, 48% oppose) and Other Southern California (47% favor, 49% oppose). Most whites (55%) express support, while Latinos are more opposed (51%) than in favor (43%). Support declines with older age, but rises as education and income increase. An overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians are opposed (75%). Since last March, support jumped 17 points among Californians age 18 to 34 (49% to 66%) and rose modestly among Latinos, whites, men, residents with lower household incomes, and those without college degrees.
Will YOU be ready to join the fight to restore marriage equality in 2012?