Nearly six in 10 California voters believe same-sex marriage should be legal, with support rising among older voters and in all regions of the state, according to a poll released Monday.
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll reveals that attitudes in the state toward gay marriage have changed significantly since Californians banned it in 2008 by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent. The Supreme Court will decide this month whether the ban will continue.
The poll found that 58 percent of the state’s registered voters believe same-sex marriage should be legal, compared with 36 against, a margin of 22 points. While a majority of Republicans are still opposed to same-sex marriage, the number opposing has decreased from 62 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in the latest poll.
Over three-quarters of California voters 18 to 29 – 76 percent support legalizing gay unions, and the number of seniors over the age of 65 who support same-sex marriage has gone up 11 percent over the same period, making them “evenly split on the matter, with 47 percent opposed and 46 percent for legalization,” according to the poll. The narrowing of the gap, 19 points just three years ago, is dramatic, say pollsters.
There’s been an assumption for four years that support for same-sex marriage is driven by demographics, and there’s no question that we see much stronger support among younger voters than older voters,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. “But that level of support among older voters is extremely important. What the shift among older voters shows is that this isn’t just a generational change, but that a whole cohort of voters is actually changing their position on the issue.”
Proposal for Transgender Students
A proposal to allow transgender students to play on the sports team or to use the bathroom for the gender they most identify with rather than the gender they were born with, found that voters surveyed were split on the issue, with 46 percent opposed and 43 in favor of the change. The intensity of the opposition was higher among those “strongly” opposed compared to those who said they favored the proposal, 36 percent versus 24 percent. The strongest opposition was among parents, who opposed the measure by 52 percent compared to those without children who slightly favored the proposal, 45-44 percent.
The poll was conducted May 27-June 2, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.