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Field Poll:
California Marriage Ban Trails by 17 Points

Field Poll:
California Marriage Ban Trails by 17 Points

Support for Proposition 8 wanes in California, according to a new Field Poll.

A constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in California trails by a 17-point margin, reports TheSacramento Bee.

According to a Field Poll, 55% of likely voters say they will vote against Proposition 8, while 38% support the ballot measure. The latest figures indicate an increase in opposition for the ban since July, when the measure trailed by nine points. After reports broke early Tuesday morning that showed the Yes on 8 campaign had raised $16 million, compared to $11 million for the No on 8 campaign, word of two notable donations in recent days has motivated the opposition. Brad Pitt announced on Wednesday that he's giving $100,000 to the campaign to beat the ballot initiative. In July, WordPerfect cofounder Bruce Bastian, a gay former Mormon, gave $1 million to the Human Right Campaign's No on Prop. 8 committee.

One reason for the falling support of the measure was thought to be the change in wording on ballot summary heading, which once read "Limit on Marriage" and now says "Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry." Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown switched the language after the state supreme court overturned a ban on gay marriages in California in May. In the new poll, half the respondents were read the original summary and the other half heard the new wording. The level of support for Proposition 8, however, did not alter. With either wording, only 38% of participants said they would vote yes. The new version did result in slightly higher opposition.

Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo told TheSacramento Bee that said these were "people who were unaware of the initiative" and the amended version "pulled them more to the 'no' side. Voters generally support individual rights, so eliminating a right has a more negative connotation than 'limit on marriage.' "

Poll respondent and retiree Barbara Hill is a former evangelical Christian who opposes Proposition 8.

"I have gay and lesbian friends who are overjoyed to have civil unions," Hill, a 67-year-old Democrat, told the Bee. "Two people making a commitment for the rest of their lives is a good thing."

Poll data also shows that a majority of Protestants back Proposition 8, but larger majorities of Catholics, people of other faiths, and those with no religious affiliation plan to vote no on the measure. However, according to a report in TheSalt Lake Tribune, about a third of's donors are Latter-day Saints, and their contributions to the marriage ban have totaled close to $5 million. Voters in coastal areas and those with higher degrees of education were more strongly against Prop. 8. (The Advocate)

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