As the Supreme Court prepares a decision on the fate of Proposition 8, nearly six in 10 California voters now believe same-sex marriage should be legal, with support rising among older voters and in all regions of the state, a new poll has found.
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.
“There has been movement across the board” in favor of same-sex marriage, said Dave Kanevsky, research director of the American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm that helped conduct the survey. “Every group has moved.”
The poll found that 58 percent of the state’s registered voters believe same-sex marriage should be legal, compared with 36 percent against, a margin of 22 points. When the same pollsters asked that question three years ago, 52 percent favored gay marriage and 40 percent opposed it, a 12-point spread…
Younger California voters also support gay marriage by larger margins than older voters, the poll found. Whereas 76 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 support legalizing the unions, only 52 percent of those ages 50 to 64 agree.
Still, the shifts among older voters are dramatic. Voters 65 and older are now almost evenly divided — 46 percent in favor, 47 percent against — compared with just three years ago, when seniors opposed gay marriage by 19 percentage points.
“Even the least-receptive audiences for same-sex marriage in California are split,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm that participated in the poll. “There has been an across-the-board sea change on this issue.”
Support is strongest in the Bay Area (69 percent), followed by Sacramento, the rest of Northern California and the Central Coast (59 percent), Los Angeles County (58 percent) and all of Southern California (52 percent).
The only region without majority support is the Central Valley, where voters who have an opinion are evenly divided, 45 percent in favor, and 45 percent against, a six-point jump in support from three years ago. The rise in support across all regions has occurred since 2009.