Poll: Calif. Marriage Amendment Takes Lead

( [email protected] ) Oct 08, 2008 07:50 AM EDT

Following the launch of pro-traditional marriage television and radio ads, support for the California Marriage Amendment has picked up, according to a new statewide poll, which shows a majority of voters favoring a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.

Proposition 8, which would effectively ban gay "marriages" in the state by defining marriage as between a man and a woman, is leading 47-42, according to the SurveyUSA poll.

The poll, which was conducted Oct. 4-5 on behalf of four television stations, differed greatly from a Field Poll released in September that showed the amendment trailing 38-55 percent. A SurveyUSA poll in September also showed weak support for the amendment with opposition leading 49-44 percent.

"We are thrilled with the new polling data. It confirms what we have heard from thousands of supporters," said Yes on 8 Campaign Co-Manager Frank Schubert in a statement.

The Yes on 8 campaign is attributing the gain to the launch of their first television ad last week and a door to door campaign.

The ad features a clip of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom declaring in front of gay and lesbian couples, "The door's wide open now! It's gonna happen whether you like it or not." The excerpt was taken from his speech on May 15, when the state Supreme Court legalized gay "marriage."

According to Yes on 8, the ad served to remind voters that gay "marriage" was imposed on California by a narrowly divided California Supreme Court which overturned the vote of over 4 million Californians who overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22, which protected traditional marriage.

In the ad, Pepperdine University Law Professor Richard Peterson says that if Prop. 8 is not passed, consequences could include people being sued for their personal beliefs, churches opposed to gay "marriage" being threatened with loss of their tax exempt status, and gay "marriage" being taught in public schools.

"The ad that is running is powerful and provocative. Not only does it show the arrogance of those who would impose same-sex marriage on California whether we like it or not, but it also shows that voters are beginning to understand there are consequences to all Californians if same-sex marriage is legalized," commented Schubert.

"TV ads can make a difference," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, according to San Jose Mercury News.

The latest Field Poll was taken after the ballot wording of Prop. 8 was modified to describe the initiative as amending the California Constitution to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry" instead of stating "only marriage between a man and a woman as valid," as the original text read.

Another Field Poll on Prop. 8 will not be released until the Thursday or Friday before Election Day, Mercury News reported.

Although two other states, Arizona and Florida, will consider their own marriage amendments this election, California has become the platform for both sides of the highly charged issue to take their stand.

Last week, nearly 4,000 young Christians voiced their support for the amendment at a rally held at San Diego's Rock Church.

San Diego will also be the site of a massive prayer rally, known as The Call California, on Nov. 1. A crowd of around 100,000 Christian youth, who have been called to fast 40 days before the Election, is expected to gather at Qualcomm Stadium to rally support for the California marriage amendment and to ask God for a nationwide revival.

The new SurveyUSA poll showed that younger voters, aged 18 to 34, held some of the strongest support for the amendment.

Gay and lesbian couples, meanwhile, have been rushing to obtain wedding licenses. In fact, a new study released Monday by UCLA's Williams Institute, found that an estimated 11,000 same-sex couples have wed in California. That figure suggests that more gay couples were married in California in the first three months of the union being declared legal than were married in the first four years it was legal in Massachusetts. Around 10,385 same-sex couples have wed in Massachusetts, according to the new study.

But traditional marriage supporters are not letting go without a fight.

The Yes on 8 campaign said it expects to release a new television ad this week, according to Mercury News.