California Evolves On Marriage

The California Field poll (pdf), released late last week, finds that marriage equality continues to gain support in the state. It’s now at 61 – 32 percent in favor. Drum welcomes the news:

[T]he number approving has gone up from 59 percent to 61 percent in just one year. We’re now very close to the two-thirds tipping point that’s a good rule of thumb for getting major legislation passed consistently. Even as we wait for Proposition 8 to wend its way through the court, it’s pretty obvious that within a year or two it won’t matter. An initiative to make gay marriage legal will barely even be controversial and would pass by a wide margin if it were on the ballot.

I’m not sure that the latest minor movement represents much but statistical noise. But the trend is unmistakable. In 1985, the numbers were almost the exact opposite: 62 – 30 against. That’s a tectonic shift:

In 2011, FiveThirtyEight published a statistical model that used past ballot initiatives as well as data on religious participation to project the vote share in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on hypothetical ballot measures prohibiting same-sex marriage. The model projected that — unlike as in 2008 — California voters would have rejected a same-sex marriage ban had it been on the ballot in November 2012. The latest poll from Field appears to bear that out.