May 21, 2011
An interesting guest piece from jpmassar reporting from the EQCA town halls. The author’s views are his own -Adam
Originally published at DailyKos
I attended an Equality California town hall last night in San Francisco, the first of many to be held around the state. The point of the town hall was to present information about and hear opinions on whether a repeal of Proposition 8 — the constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages in California — should be put in the November, 2012 ballot.
In Part I am reporting the results of a poll David Binder Research conducted which was commissioned by Equality California and presented by Mr. Binder at the meeting. In Part II I’ll talk about some of what else was discussed at the meeting.
Here are some of the polling results:
Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose legalizing same sex marriage? (1)
2011 results (900 likely California voters) 5/14/11 :
Favor or Strongly Favor: 45%
Oppose or Strongly Oppose: 45%
Don’t Know: 10%
Favor or Strongly Favor: 47%
Oppose or Strongly Oppose: 48%
Don’t Know: 5%
Do you favor or oppose legalizing same-sex marriage providing that no religious organization or clergy would be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies? (1)
Here are some crosstabs of the 2011 results:
Democrats: 59% in favor
Independents: 53% in favor
Republicans: 21% in favor
Whites: 48% in favor
African Americans: 33% in favor
Latinos: 43% in favor
Asians: 53% in favor
(1) My wording of these questions may be somewhat off because I did not write down the questions in detail, and the poll is not available (yet?) on the Equality California website.
I did not record the religious crosstabs but there was, as you would expect, an extremely high correlation between being more religious and being against repeal. In fact, as Mr. Binder pointed out, this is the overwhelmingly critical demographic distinction: the more one attends religious ceremonies, the less chance there is you support same-sex marriage.
The most fascinating part of the polling presentation was Binder’s discussion of the second question — the one with the religious exception.
While 13% of those who originally opposed repeal changed their minds when presented with this option, 10% of those originally for repeal said they would not vote for repeal with this ‘religious exception’ inserted! If those who oppose the ‘religious exception’ clause were instead counted in favor of repeal, a full 58% of California’s likely voting population would support abolishing Proposition 8.
Now, let’s be very clear: the ‘religious exception’ clause is a completely and utterly vacuous statement. No religious organization or clergyperson ever has, or ever will, be forced to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony in the United States — the first Amendment to the United States constitution, along with even a smidgen of rational thought, tells us so. A clause like this is designed solely to sway anti-repeal voters who don’t understand the difference between a civil marriage and a religious marriage ceremony, not turn off existing supporters!
This is a sad commentary on the 22% of those who support repeal straight up but quail in the face of an impotent clause. But what can you do? You can educate some of them, but that only takes you so far, given there’d be something like 1.3 million people who, by extrapolation from the polling percentages and the number of California voters, would feel that way.
This is only one poll, and that poll has a margin of error. Every other piece of evidence (national polls, other statewide polls, social trends) suggests that this poll managed to come up on the low end of the margin of error. For example, other California polls taken in the last year show:
|PPP||51% legal, 40% illegal||2/11||892 registered voters|
|PPP||46% legal, 44% illegal||9/10||630 likely voters (2)|
|Field||51% support, 42% oppose||7/10||1390 registered voters|
(2) The demographic characteristics of likely voters for the 2010 election is likely to be different than that for likely voters in the 2012 election, and that should generally work in favor or repeal, as more younger voters will tend to vote.
If we average the Binder poll with these three results we get:
A differential of 5.5% in favor of repeal.
What’s the bottom line? With a (vacuous) ‘religious exception’ clause, it is very likely that Proposition 8 can be repealed in November of 2012. Even if the “truth” right now is a 47%-43% split in favor of repeal with a ‘religious exception’ (and other, external evidence suggests that it should be better than that) continued demographic and social changes can only improve that result.
The organization that puts the initiative on the ballot controls the wording. By KISS (Keeping It Simple, Stupid) and including a prominent religious exception clause, California can wake up to marriage equality on November 7th, 2012.
If there is the will to do it.