| People are probably going to fixate on the hard numbers in this latest poll on marriage equality from the LA Times, showing the constitutional amendment passing by 54-35. However, there are a few additional items to consider.
• We all know that initiatives need to be well ahead to start before the advertising ramps up and the No side chips away at the lead. This poll would traditionally signal an initiative in the danger zone. However, the initial polls for Prop. 22 in 2000 were at 58%, and it rose to 61% by election day. Opinions may be fairly hardened on this one.
• In the internals, however, there is much good news for marriage equality advocates.
More than half of Californians said gay relationships were not morally wrong, that they would not degrade heterosexual marriages and that all that mattered was that a relationship be loving and committed, regardless of gender.
That's really, really good news. 54% say same-sex relationships are not morally wrong, and 59% say that "as long as the two love each other, it doesn't matter" what gender the two people are. It suggests that the only hurdle is the terminology of "gay marriage," based on lingering tradition. I think that can be cleared to a degree.
• There's more confirmation that this is generational.
Overall, the proportion of Californians who back either gay marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples has remained fairly constant over the years. But the generational schism is pronounced. Those under 45 were less likely to favor a constitutional amendment than their elders and were more supportive of the court's decision to overturn the state's current ban on gay marriage. They also disagreed more strongly than their elders with the notion that gay relationships threatened traditional marriage.
Considering that the likely Presidential nominee is poised to bring Americans under 45 to the polls in record numbers, it's certainly better to be on the side that appeals to them.
• If Arnold's opposition to the measure is publicized, which is likely, that does seem to change minds:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has vetoed two bills sanctioning gay marriage, has said that he respects the court's decision and that he will not support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Californians were split on his stance, with 45% agreeing and 46% disagreeing.
I think this is a pretty good place to be considering the circumstances. The marriage equality movement has powerful advocates and the weight of justice and fairness on their side. It's whether enough people have gotten used to the concept by November. I think the poll shows that's very possible.