Poll: Californians Overwhelmingly Back Same-Sex Marriage

With Supreme Court oral arguments on the Constitutionality of Proposition 8 only weeks away, a new poll finds that  Californians now support same-sex marriage by a margin of 2-to-1:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A record 61 percent of Californians now approve of allowing same-sex couples to marry, according to a poll released Thursday. 32 percent of Californians oppose.

The Field Poll found 78 percent support among people 39 and younger and a solid majority of middle-aged residents now back gay marriage — 56 percent. Even among senior citizens there is 48 percent support, compared with 42 percent against.

The overall results represent a reversal in views about the issue in the 36 years the Field Poll has been taking surveys on gay marriage. In 1977, when the first survey was conducted, only 28 percent approved of gay marriage, while 59 percent were opposed.

The most recent survey found broad-based support, with the majority of most subgroups within the survey — men and women, all racial and ethnic groups, and each major region of the state — saying they favor gay marriage.

Ninety percent of people who described themselves as liberal said they approved of allowing gay couples to wed. The survey found 53 of Republicans were opposed, while 39 percent approved. Just 25 percent of those who said they were conservative favored gay marriage.

Via Nate Silver, this chart from the Bay Area News Group shows just how dramatically public opinion has changed in just the last ten years in America’s largest state:


The changes in public opinion in California mirror those in public opinion nationwide, but the changes in this one state have been far more dramatic. One suspects that if Proposition 8 were put up to a vote again today, the result would be far, far different. What this also tells us, though, is that a ruling from the Supreme Court that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional would not cause significant undue political outrage among California voters.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    I’m a California native and have been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area most of my life, and I’ve got to say, those numbers really surprise me.

    I hope that these numbers are true, but once people get around to voting on the issue it seems that the polling numbers are always too optimistic. There is however a lot of momentum to the pro-Gay Marriage movement, and I actually believe that it’s not a mirage. Clearly, support has moved beyond the coastal metroplexes of the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San diego , to the some communities in the Central Valley too.

    Equal protection under the law for gay people is good, it’s right.

  2. de stijl says:


    Equal protection under the law for gay people is good, it’s right.

    By my understanding of the 14th it is, in fact, a capital R “Right.”

  3. Tyrell says:

    Studies have shown that people will say one thing to a poll or survey, but do something different in the voting booth.
    “Let someone else vote for it ” seems to be the attitude

  4. Eric Florack says:

    No sale. Oncer again the left tries to push bandwagon arguemnts and court cases as of greater import thanthe will of the people. The lame “reasoning” behind the discrepancy between every vote ever held on the topic and the poll data, doesn’t cut it.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    It really is interesting how many people have the opinion that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not apply to gay persons and gay marriage.

    SECTION 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  6. Scott O says:

    @Eric Florack: Same sex marriage ballot initiatives passed in Maine and Maryland is the last election. That “every vote ever held on the topic” talking point is no longer valid.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Scott O:

    @Eric Florack: Same sex marriage ballot initiatives passed in Maine and Maryland is the last election. That “every vote ever held on the topic” talking point is no longer valid.

    Please. Isn’t it obvious to you – as it is to most Republicans – that those votes in Maine and Maryland were not valid? In their world, those elections never happened.