Poll Results Offer Breakdown in California Prop 8 Vote

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A post-election poll indicates that voters'
economic status and religious convictions played a greater role
than race and age in determining whether they supported Proposition
8, the Nov. 4 ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in
California.

Although the initiative passed with 52 percent of the vote, the
Public Policy Institute of California reported Wednesday that just
48 percent of voters in the Nov. 4 election oppose the idea of
making gay marriage legal. Another 47 percent of the survey's 2,003
respondents support it, while 5 percent are undecided.

Those findings mirror previous PPIC polls from the last three
years, suggesting that neither the state Supreme Court decision
that legalized same-sex marriage in the state nor the $73 million
spent for and against Proposition 8 did much to change public
attitudes on allowing gay couples to wed, said survey director Mark
Baldassare.

"At no point in time, before or after the election, did we have
a majority of Californians saying they supported gay marriage,"
Baldassare said. "My takeaway from this is that until there is a
major shift in public opinion one way or another, it's going to be
another issue where voters are deeply divided."

Proposition 8 overturned the high court's 4-3 ruling by amending
the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.
The same court already has agreed to hear a legal challenge early
next year brought by civil rights groups that are arguing voters
alone lacked the authority to make such a constitutional change.

The Supreme Court's justices also plan to consider the validity
of the 18,000 same-sex unions that were sanctioned in California
before the measure's passage. Same-sex marriage supporters have
indicated that if the court does not rule in their favor, they
would attempt to repeal the gay marriage ban at the ballot box in
2010.

But the demographic details of the PPIC poll do not bode well
for such an effort, according to Baldassare.

Gay rights activists cannot assume their cause will be won as
older voters, raised when homosexuality itself was illegal, die
off, he said.

The latest PPIC poll shows that Proposition 8 also got strong
backing from voters who did not attend college (69 percent) and
voters who earned less than $40,000 a year (63 percent).

Age and race, meanwhile, were not as strong factors as assumed.
According to the survey, 56 percent of voters over age 55 and 57
percent of non-white voters cast a yes ballot for the gay marriage
ban.

"There are socio-economic factors in play, and we are not
seeing great changes in socio-economic status in California,"
Baldassare said.

People who identified themselves as practicing Christians also
were highly likely to support the constitutional amendment, with 85
percent of evangelical Christians, 66 percent of Protestants and 60
percent of Roman Catholics favoring it.

Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay rights group
Equality California, said the PPIC poll demonstrates that same-sex
marriage advocates "need to make inroads in every category. If 2
percent of voters had voted differently, we would have had a
different result," he said.


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