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Poll Shows Majority of California Voters Now Favor Legalizing Gay Marriage

Tuesday Jun 11, 2013

Although the Supreme Court has yet to hand down its decision regarding Proposition 8, the court of public opinion in California seems to have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. According to a recent poll, attitudes among Californians have shifted markedly since the vote to ban gay marriage five years ago, with support growing in every region and demographic

According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, 58 percent of the state's registered voters believe same-sex marriage should be legal, compared with 36 percent against, a margin of 22 points. When the same pollsters asked that question three years ago, 52 percent favored gay marriage and 40 percent opposed it, a 12-point spread. Five years ago the state's electorate voted to ban same-sex unions by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent.

"There has been movement across the board" in favor of same-sex marriage, said Dave Kanevsky, research director of the American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm that helped conduct the survey. "Every group has moved."

At least half of all ethnic groups surveyed favor same-sex marriage. Whites are most supportive (61 percent) followed by Asians (58 percent) Latinos (51 percent) and African Americans (50 percent).

Younger California voters also support gay marriage by larger margins than older voters, the poll found. Whereas 76 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 support legalizing the unions, only 52 percent of those ages 50 to 64 agree.

Still, the shifts among older voters are dramatic. Voters 65 and older are now almost evenly divided - 46 percent in favor, 47 percent against - compared with just three years ago, when seniors opposed gay marriage by 19 percentage points.

According to, regionally, those figures are the same for voters in the Central Coast, while in San Francisco, 69 percent agree. The only California region without concurrence is the Central Valley, where voters are split 45-45.
California's apparent acceptance of this policy change reflects the overall attitude in the U.S., the poll showed.

California's apparent acceptance of this policy change reflects the overall attitude in the U.S., the poll showed.

According to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the findings are based on a random sample survey of 1,500 (1,500 weighted) registered voters in the state of California, conducted from May 27th to June 2nd, 2013. Interviews were conducted by telephone using live interviewers from Interviewing Services of America. Voters were randomly selected from a list of registered voters statewide and reached on a landline or cell phone depending on the number they designated on their voter registration. Twenty percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone. Up to five attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter.

The maximum sampling error for the overall sample of 1,500 registered voters is +/- 2.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Margin of error for subgroups is higher. The margin of error for the 479 Latino sample respondents is +/- 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.


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