Proposition 8 Update

| Thu Oct. 23, 2008 12:30 PM EDT

PROPOSITION 8 UPDATE....A new poll shows that California voters remain opposed to a ban on gay marriage:

But the poll also found that support for Proposition 8, which would amend the state Constitution to disallow same-sex marriage, has gained somewhat since a similar survey was taken in late August. The latest results show 44% in favor and 52% opposed, with a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

It's gonna be close, folks. Back in May, based on demographic fundamentals, I predicted that Prop 8 would pass 52%-48%. There's good news and bad news that might change that, though.

The good news is that this is a Democratic year and liberal turnout at the polls might be higher than normal. The bad news is that the No forces are running bland, generic ads, while a few weeks ago the Yes forces began saturation coverage of fiendishly effective scare ads that scream, "Gay marriage will be taught to second graders!" — and the Mormon church is providing them with plenty of money to scream with. Conversely, the No side is determined that their ads not mention "gay marriage" or anything else that might potentially upset anyone, hoping that people won't figure out what Prop 8 is about and will just vote against it because it's vaguely "unfair." Unfortunately, it's hard to see that working. Given the high-wattage campaign from the Yes folks, there can't really be many people left in the state who don't know what Prop 8 is about.

Here in my little neck of the woods, the Yes folks are also pretty well organized. They've got troops of people holding signs and banners at street corners during rush hour, and I chatted with a few of the sign holders yesterday on my way to the market. They were all nice folks. Wrong, but nice, and very committed to the cause. And judging from the honking of horns as cars whizzed by, there are plenty of people here who agree with them.

But that's Orange County for you. It's hardly a representative sample of the state. Still, there are plenty of people who think the same way, and another couple of weeks of high-decibel Yes ads are probably going to add to their numbers. It's gonna be close.

UPDATE: Elizabeth Gettelman has a report from Oakland about the street corner picketers there. Apparently most of them have been organized by local Mormon churches, which I guess isn't surprising.

One of the guys I talked to on my corner last night asked if my opposition to Prop 8 was "because of the church thing," and at first I didn't really realize what he was talking about. As I walked away I figured it out: he wanted to know if I was turned off by the Yes campaign because I'd heard it was bankrolled by the Mormon Church. I guess they must run into that a lot.