Poll indicates support for California gay marriage ban is waning

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More than half of California’s voters will say no to Proposition 8, the state’s proposed ban on same-sex marriage, according to a poll conducted by the Public Policy of California, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

A promising trend indicates that there’s a narrowing gap between supporters of gay marriage and its opponents, whose support for the proposition to ban equal marriage rights is beginning to wane.

The poll showed that 54 percent of potential voters will vote no on Prop. 8, which seeks to ban gay marriage.

Same-sex marriage became legal in the state this June when the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on equal marriage rights in a decision that came down in May.

The poll reflects the change in attitudes among Californians, who are now more likely to support family, friends and co-workers who want the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation, Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We know the other side is about to launch a major campaign against same-sex marriage, so we still have a lot of work to do,” Kors said.

The gap between likely voters who support same-sex marriage and those who oppose it has nearly closed as indicated by the poll results.

Eight years ago, 55 percent of likely voters opposed same-sex marriage and 38 percent favored it. But now it’s neck and neck with 47 percent of voters in favor of gay marriage and 47 percent against it.

According to Jennifer Kerns, communications director for Prop. 8, the survey suggests that the issue is more important to those who support the proposition than to those who don’t, which could make a difference on Election Day, she told the SF Chronicle.

“Last time Californians voted on this issue, they were overwhelmingly in support” of banning marriage between members of the same sex, Kerns said. “We expect the same this time around.”

The poll, which covers a wide-range of voters’ concerns, found that 60 percent of those surveyed favour bringing home troops in Iraq, that President George W. Bush’s approval rating is 24 percent and that 63 percent of likely California voters favour universal health care.

But the biggest concern among Californians today is the economy, according to the poll.

CEO of Public Policy Institute, Mark Baldassare, told the Chronicle that the survey, which was conducted in English and Spanish from August 12 to 19, shows the economy is the overriding issue facing Californians today.

“Californians are going to be looking very closely at the Presidential candidates and state elected leaders to see who has a plan or a solution for turning around the economy,” he said.

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