California Poll Shows Majority Oppose Prop 8 to Eliminate Same Sex Marriage Rights and Props 4 on Parental Notification and 11 on Redistricting Are Under 50% Support

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The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has just released a survey that shows Proposition 8 to amend the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry would be defeated 54% to 40% if the election were held today.

Two other measures on the November ballot are also in trouble. Proposition 4, the “Waiting Period and Parental Notification of Minor’s Pregnancy” constitutional amendment is favored by 47% to 44%. Proposition 11, the “Redistricting Constitutional Amendment and Statute” is favored by 39% to 36%. Generally, two months before an election, ballot measures need to be polling in the 60% or above range to pass when the election is held.

These findings were part of a 42 page survey the PPIC released. Before going into the details of the results, it needs to be said that the PPIC model of likely voters appears to be tilted towards more conservative, older, and Republican voters than many analysts are predicting will turnout in November’s election. These are the demographic groups most likely to vote for these propositions and therefore these results are dire for the prospects of passage of all three of these ballot propositions.

Democrats have an 11 point edge over Republicans in voter registration, at 44% of the electorate to the Republican’s 33%. Yet the PPIC’s results are based on an assumption that Democrats will constitute only 41% of those who will vote, with Republicans turning out in higher percentages at 35% of the electorate, and decline-to-state/others (often referred to as “independents” accounting for 24% of those voting. This is only a 6 point Democratic advantage and is based on a 72% voter turnout. Because of ongoing voter registration and high interest in this election by new younger voters, other pollsters see a turnout of 76% or higher with Democrats constituting closer to their registration advantage in those who will make up the electorate.

Prop 8: Same-sex Marriage

PPIC shows this measure being defeated 54% to 40% with a very low 6% of likely voters not knowing how they would vote. Democrats by a 66% to 29% margin oppose Prop 8, as do non-partisan/others by 59% to 36%. Republicans are in favor by a 60% to 34% margin.

While the measure is close with men, 49% are opposed and 45% in support, opposition by women at 58% to 35% is lopsided. The two major groups of Latinos and Whites are opposed to this measure at statistically the same level. Voters feel this is an important issue, with 50% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 41% of independents saying it is very important.

This is the first major public polling based on the title and summary, approved by Attorney General Jerry Brown, that voters will see before voting on it.

PPIC’s numbers show, if anything, more opposition to Prop 8 than the California Field Poll’s 51% to 42% rejection released on July 18 and that we analyzed. At that time, we said, “A look at the numbers reveals that this measure is in deep trouble, as knowledge about the initiative measure is high for this far in advance of the November election.” Field’s earlier poll in May showed Prop 8 being defeated by a 51% to 43% margin. These numbers have held remarkably steady.

Prop 4: Parental Notification

Californians have rejected similar ballot measures in 2005 by 53% to 47% and in 2006 by 54% to 46%. The PPIC shows it favored by 47% to 44% with a relatively low 9% not knowing how they would vote. Being under 50% at this point in the election calendar does not augur well for its passage.

Democrats would vote this measure down 56% to 35%. Republicans would approve it 62% to 28%. Independents are divided, within the margin of error at 48% in favor and 41% opposed.

The measure is ahead with men, 48% to 41%, but women are split, at 46% each in favor and opposed.

Proposition 11: Redistricting

This measure is supported by 39% and opposed by 36%. A fairly high 25% of likely voters do not know how they would vote. Bill Cavala, who has seen a number of reapportionment/redistricting measures on the ballots over the years, has written an article predicting defeat of Prop 11.

Prop 11 draws support from Republicans by a 47% to 33% margin, fares poorly with Democrats, who reject it 40% to 31%, and independents are split 39% in favor and 36% opposed. Curiously, the PPIC shows it winning the votes of men 44% to 36%, while there is a 10 point drop with female voters at 34% support and 36% opposition. Latinos are lining up in opposition 47% to 33% while whites support it 42% to 32%. It does not have majority support in any grouping.

Yet by pretty hefty margins Democrats (50% to 30%), Republicans (60% to 23%), and independents (58% to 24%) agree with the notion that “if voting districts were redrawn by an independent commission of citizens, California would generally have state legislators who more effectively represent their districts than legislators do today.”

The problem with redistricting initiatives with voters is in the specifics of what is proposed and that is where they have failed in the past.

We’ll be going through other parts of this survey in other articles today.

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