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Voters oppose putting gay marriage back on the ballot, Times/USC poll finds

Latpoll A small majority of California voters supports the right of gay couples to marry, but a much larger portion of voters opposes efforts to place the issue back on the ballot next year, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll has found.

Views on same-sex marriage were sharply polarized based on political party, with 66% of Democrats thinking it should be legal and 71% of Republicans in opposition. Nonpartisan voters were less enthusiastic than Democrats but still backed it, 59%-34%.

Overall, 51% of California voters favored marriage rights for same-sex couples and 43% were opposed. Strikingly, however, almost 60% of Californians did not want to revisit the issue in 2010, just one election cycle after it last hit the ballot. 

In November of 2008, Californians voted 52% to 48% to limit marriage rights to one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage advocates have been split over whether to push for a new vote next year or wait until 2012, when the presidential contest will draw more voters to the polls than would be expected to cast ballots in next year's midterm elections.

Supporters of gay marriage are also strategizing in other states but on Tuesday received a stinging rebuke when voters in Maine repealed a state measure that had granted marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The California findings come from a new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Sciences poll. The survey, which interviewed 1,500 registered voters from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3, was conducted for the Times and USC by two nationally prominent polling firms, the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies. The results have a margin of error of +/-2.6 percentage points. Full results of the poll, including the status of the campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate, will be published Sunday in the Times and on latimes.com.

The survey showed that same-sex marriage continues to reverberate differently along race and generational lines. Just over half of whites backed it, while just under half of African Americans and Latinos did.

All three groups, however, opposed having to vote on it in 2010. (Asians were questioned by the poll and included in the overall sample, but their numbers were statistically too small to isolate.) Young voters continued to be far more supportive of gay marriage rights than their elders.

Among those ages 18-29, 71% said they supported same-sex marriage; among those 65 and older, only 37% favored it. Younger voters were also one of the few groups who backed putting it on the 2010 ballot, which will be dominated by the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

The difference in views by age likely explains, in part, the changing results in California on same-sex marriage. In 2000, voters outlawed it by a margin of 61%-39%; by last November’s ballot, opposition had slipped significantly. Election results differ from poll results, of course, because not everyone polled will cast ballots.

-- Cathleen Decker

Comments () | Archives (78)

Why? Are they afraid the tide will turn in 2 years?

It would serve a purpose if Cathleen Decker and her editors learned how to write in English, before working for LA Times. But I guess the paper has gone down the tubes... so now we have this title:

"A small majority of California voters supports the right of gay couples to marry, but a much larger portion of voters opposes efforts to place the issue back on the ballot next year."

Could someone look "majority" in the dictionary, and compare it to "larger portion". How can "larger portion" be bigger than "majority"???????

It's official.

I would love to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states right now - as far as I'm concerned, it's already legal under federal constitutional law. But putting it on the ballot next year guarantees the anti-gay-marriage base will turn out in droves again. Waiting hurts, but it will be much easier to pass this thing in 2012 or later, when more teenagers are voting age.

Your first paragraph states: "A small majority of California voters supports..." and "a much larger portion of voters opposes efforts..."

So which is the majority group? You cannot have a small majority when there is a yes or no question. You are either in the majority or in the minority. You can have a small majority if there are more than two options in the question.

When inter-racial marriage was illegal and the Supreme Court made it legal, over 70% of the American populace was agaisnt mixed-race marriages. The Supremem court, however, chose to protect the right of minorities over the WRONG BELIEFS of the majority. The US is a great laggard when it comes to social equality, it is a very bad fabric of the USA...we typically come around, but much later than the rest of the world.

So who cares what the voters think? Its the government jobs to protect minorities and just because people have wrong opinions, doesn't mean they're right.

How can you have the title of your story state "a small majority"? That is very misleading. The word majority denotes more than half, and there is by no means more than half of Californians in favor of gay marriage. I personally do not have " a horse in this race" and do not care one way or the other, I would just like some intellectual honesty from reporters regardless of their personal feelings!

What is this? The power of positive thinking? In 2008 you had your best shot at this, and yet you still lost. Now, one year later you claim that a small majority support this? No wonder major newspapers are failing across the country, you and your brethren in NY and the AP, might as well call yourselves Pravda!!

Why is it so hard for the gay community to accept that the mainstream of society does not accept homsexuality as a normal human relationship? It's not about religion, or rights, or equlity, or anything else. Its about the social definition of natural relationships - a man and a woman. Any abberation is accpetable as it is a free country, BUT gay people need to stop cramming it down our throats, forcing us to accepet what they define as normal and we don't. Until the majority of the population is gay and we are the anomoly, too bad. Get over it.

"Election results differ from poll results, of course, because not everyone polled will cast ballots."

And not everyone tells the truth to the pollster.

Some of our citizens are unaware of the phrase “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and taken from the writings of British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) and English jurist William Blackstone (1723-1780). Locke and Blackstone argued that the laws of man must comply with the immutable laws of nature instituted by nature’s God.
Since the writings of Locke and Blackstone greatly influenced the American Revolutionaries and subsequently the framers of our U.S. Constitution, it’s imperative that our laws take into consideration those eight words borrowed by Jefferson that have served as an underpinning for our U.S. Constitution and hence each state’s constitution.
Any fair minded citizen must conclude that homosexual acts do indeed go against “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Same-sex couples cannot naturally reproduce neither can they engage in sexual intercourse that is compatible to the design of the human body. Therefore, to enact a law that legitimizes any union that runs contrary to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” will in fact violate this higher law that the framers of our Constitution considered key for the prudent governing of our society.
Why should we or why would we attempt to redefine the time honored definition of marriage and undermine the foundations of our constitutional law? Do we regard ourselves wiser than those who have gone before—those who laid the foundations of the world’s greatest democracy? If through our laws we should validate homosexual unions as a legitimate expression of marriage, then we would indeed go against the wisdom of our nation’s founders.
The majority of California’s voters made the correct call when they passed Proposition 8. They were not overturning some inalienable right granted by our Creator and embraced by our founding Fathers. They were merely upholding “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” And from their writings we may also deduce that Locke, Blackstone and Jefferson would most assuredly agree.
In light of this, one might conclude that when California voters passed Prop 8, it actually served more as a clarification than an amendment to our State’s constitution. We can be certain that it never entered the minds of our founding fathers that marriage would need to be defined as a union between one man and one woman—it was simply a given and to argue otherwise would have seemed ludicrous. California’s Prop 8 only became a necessity because of a militant minority that is attempting to overturn a key principle of American jurisprudence.

John D. McLaughlin
A California Voter

what is more important to the people and the voters in California that is what should be placed in the ballots for them to vote on

I don't understand this country, honestly.

Everyday US spends so much money in a non sense war, in instead of using that money to a Universal Health Care or, for example, give rights to its own citizens, like gays couples.

We are a binational gay couple and when I am leaving the U.S, we will have to be separeted... because government doesn't believe in our love.

I would like straight people feel the same than us....

It's so much painful... but one day, one elder people die, this country will allow it, that's life.

The proof? Youngest people allow gay marriage ( a huge percent of them). Only we need time

The Voters have spoken twice in California! Deal with it. In a democracy we may not always agree, but the majority rules. God Bless America!

WHAT KIND OF A STUPID HEADLINE IS THIS? Of course voters don't want this on the ballot. They will say the same thing in 2012 and 2014 and every time you ask. People don't like propositions and they don't want to deal with emotional issues EVER. This is the most salient fact: "Overall, 51% of California voters favored marriage rights for same-sex couples and 43% were opposed?"

Its frightening that people like John D. McLaughlin can be so ignorant.

He writes,

"Any fair minded citizen must conclude that homosexual acts do indeed go against “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Same-sex couples cannot naturally reproduce neither can they engage in sexual intercourse that is compatible to the design of the human body."

Following his logic, infertile couples should not be allowed to marry and oral sex should be illegal (against nature's law...even though countless animal species have been observed engaging in same-sex sexual behavior, sodomy and oral sex).

Why are you so stupid?

The headline on this poll, and on Andrew Malcolm's blog post, is a dishonest attempt to bury the news. The news from the poll is that California voters now favor same-sex marriage by an 8-point margin. That is a stunning turnaround from the results of Prop 8 last year. Instead, the Times buries the news by headlining the much-less-newsworthy finding that people would rather not have this on the ballot. It would be hard to find a clearer example of twisting the news by the way it's presented.

It's really quite a strawman to bring up whether it's "normal" or not to be gay, and even more of a distraction to argue that gay people shouldn't be able to protect their relationships because one views what they may or may not be doing in private as "normal".

Is it "normal" to be deaf? "Normal" to be a paraplegic? Is it "normal" to be obese, a rock star, dyslexic, a Wagnerian opera singer, a computer geek?

They are all protected under the Constitution.

Every deaf person in America is guaranteed a right to an education. We don't exclude them from the educational system just because we deem the trait of deafness as somehow abnormal.

We don't determine rights based on whether or not a trait is "normal" or not.

Gay people fall in love and form committed, meaningful relationships. I don't see how you justify preventing gay couples from signing legally binding contracts that protect those relationships. And I don't believe voters have the basic knowledge necessary to determine whether or not gay people are being treated fairly.

Rights simply aren't something that we should determine based on how popular --or un- -- some people or traits are.

If we decided things that way, there would be an awful lot of us deprived of some pretty basic rights.

bless every mom and dad and all the children and grandchildren and all the generations of men and women.
God saves

It's official.

it was signed into law by Obama last week.
The new "hate" crime bill outlaws Christianity and Judiasm.

im truly amazed that all print media especially the l.a. times and the tv media all are in agreement with so called gay marriage is that because their afraid of losing their jobs if they opposed it take a survey among yourselves and see how you voted on prop8 nobody wants the truth anymore but let GOD be true and every man a liar

Response to "a smart person." You maybe smart but not wise. Wisdom and intelligence are two different thing. You are comparing your act to that of animals and of people with medical problems? Is that the best you can do? Just because animals can engage in homo acts doesn't mean that we should...BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ANIMALS! As for infertile couples, why do you compare your cause to people who have medical problems? Compare yourself to people who are healthy.

Homosexaulity is an act not a race so don't compare apples to organges.

Old Testament Proverb: Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom.

Duh. The electorate doesn't like any question to be put on the ballot again so soon after they thought they had decided the issue--just like they don't like to be told "whether you like it or not, here it comes."

I can't believe people are still opposed. Opposition to gay marriage is based in religious doctrine. Our constitution clearly separates church and state. Ergo, it should be legal. If your religion forbids gay marriage, that's fine, your religion doesn't have to marry gay people or recognize their status, but the state does. Gay couples should have all the same legal rights -- including the right to marry -- that straight couples have. To do otherwise is no different than having separate water fountains labeled "white" and "colored".

That said, if you object to homosexual marriage on a religious basis, I'll remind you that the Bible says that gay sex is punishable by death. Let's see what happens if you try to put *that* one on the ballot.


That is all your opinion, which your are allowed to have. But it is ONLY opinion, never to be confused with a correct assertion. There are other opinions.

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