47 percent would keep ban, 5 percent undecided
SAN FRANCISCO — If given another say on same-sex marriage, California’s electorate would be even more divided today than it was in November when a gay marriage ban passed with 52 percent of the vote, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The Field Poll of 761 registered voters found that 48 percent of those surveyed would support a new ballot initiative repealing Proposition 8, while 47 percent would favor keeping the ban in place. The remaining 5 percent were undecided.
The new numbers could figure into the calculations of gay rights activists who are considering going back to the ballot box if the California Supreme Court rejects a trio of lawsuits seeking to overturn Proposition 8.
The court has been asked to throw out the November ban on the grounds that it represented such a significant change to the state constitution that approval from the Legislature or a constitutional convention was needed to qualify it as an initiative. A ruling is due by June 3.
"We certainly don’t want to prejudge the judges," said Marci Solomon, marriage director of the gay rights group Equality California. "If we don’t prevail, we’re committed to seeing the right of same-sex couples to marry restored. We are really evaluating, analyzing when that would be."
As with the vote on Proposition 8, the Field Poll found political ideology, religion and age to be strong indicators of how voters viewed the prospect of repealing Proposition 8 during the 2010 general election.
Voters over the age of 65 along with those who did not personally know any gay people, described themselves as politically conservative or identified as Protestant or Catholic were the most strongly opposed.
Marital status also influenced voters’ views on another ballot question dealing with same-sex marriage. Half of married voters opposed extending marriage rights to gay couples, compared with 45 percent of separated or divorced voters and 35 percent of voters who had always been single.
The poll, which was conducted by telephone between Feb. 20 and March 1, had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 points.