SAN FRANCISCO — A new poll finds that nearly six out of ten California voters now support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, a significant increase since the state voted to ban same-sex marriage a little more than two years ago.
Currently 59 percent of this state’s registered voters favor allowing same-sex couples to marry and have regular marriage laws apply to them, while 34 percent disapprove. Another 7 percent did not express an opinion.
The division of sentiment is nearly a complete reversal of the findings from the first time The Field Poll began measuring Californians’ attitudes toward same-sex marriage in 1977. At that time, 59 percent disapproved and 28 percent were in favor.
In addition to measuring the issue of same-sex marriage using an approve-disapprove scale, in recent years The Field Poll has also asked the question offering voters three options — allowing same-sex couples to marry, allowing civil unions but not marriage, or not permitting any legal recognition to same-sex couples.
The survey findings now demonstrate that California voters over time have become more permissive on this issue, Field Research reports.
“It is also apparent that some voters who support only allowing civil unions, but not marriage to same-sex couples, move to the side of approving same-sex marriage when the issue comes down to an either-or proposition,” the poll indicates.
The Field Poll was conducted Feb. 2-18 and surveyed 1,003 registered California voters. A copy of the poll results is here (PDF).
The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field and has operated continuously as an independent, non-partisan, media-sponsored public opinion news service.