We knew a Field Poll on the California propositions would be released right before the election, and indeed, out it came. From “‘Yes on Prop. 8’ gaining on foes, poll finds,” in this morning’s Sacramento Bee:
Over the past six weeks, a proposed constitutional amendment that would end same-sex marriage in California has gained substantial ground but still trails by a five-point margin heading into Tuesday’s election.
A new Field Poll shows Proposition 8, one of the most closely watched state ballot measures in years, is supported by 44 percent of likely voters. Forty-nine percent oppose it, and 7 percent are undecided.
In the last Field Poll, released Sept. 18, the measure was behind by 17 points.
I hasten to remind us, with a stone in my gut, of the “gay Bradley effect,” as I like to call it, surely confounding the historical record about the sexual orientation of the former mayor of L.A. His loss in the 1982 gubernatorial race in this state, given his healthy lead in the polls before the vote, was a suprise, and widely attributed to the social stigma of racism that voters felt when speaking to pollsters. In anti-gay marriage initiatives nationwide, a 7-10% difference has consistently shown up between actual vote and the polls leading up to it. Same thing: there’s some social stigma against homophobia/heterosexism, but no one’s looking when you get into the sanctum sanctorum of the voting booth.
All of which to say: if the margin of difference is that No on 8 is five points ahead right now, then that means it’s more like two to five points behind. Factor in the margin of error for the poll (+/- 3 points), and we’re right where No on 8 folks have been saying all along: a dead heat.
Many more details can be found in the article, including the enormous variation by respondents depending on which questions are asked, in which ways. The results show that — no surprise — people’s takes on all this are nuanced. It’s a tempting thing, to be given the opportunity to outlaw something you’re uncomfortable about. And it’s a subtle detail, the thing about a Constitution’s role to actually protect against the very act of the majority imposing its tastes or religious beliefs on a minority.
Here’s something to get everyone off their arses this weekend, and through Monday and Tuesday:
Nearly half of all voters are voting early or by mail, and they narrowly favor Proposition 8 by a three-point margin, according to the poll. Among the 22 percent of respondents who have already voted, the yes side was leading by six points.
But DiCamillo said the survey also suggests that the no side has enough supporters to defeat the measure and the race will come down to which side gets more of its backers to the polls on Election Day.
Let’s repeat that, in bold, red letters, shall we?
the race will come down to which side gets more of its backers to the polls on Election Day.
How can you participate in that? One: if you haven’t donated before, please do. That money is pouring into the things that essentially get people to the polls on Election Day. And vote No on 8 when they get there. If you have donated, and have dug again ’til you’ve hit your limit, is there anyone else you could ask? People who would step up now, when they see how much is on the line, and how clearly helpful their contribution could be? Anything and everything helps, and we’re still trying to get to $3 million in 3 days, to counter the fundraising surge on the other side (YOW the LD Love Train is chugging with little engine that could pluck, and the umpity-ump of you who read this blog but haven’t donated should really pony up a little, just to get in on the good feeling the rest of us are having).
The other thing is, for locals: COMMIT TO GET OUT THE VOTE IN THE COMING DAYS. No on 8 is making it really easy. I’m going to be doing door-to-door on Sunday, doing streetcorner commute hour visibility stuff Monday morning, and spending the day on Tuesday working for No on 8. They got places to put any willing pair of hands and feet.
Finally: TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS, ABOUT HOW DOWN TO THE WIRE IT IS, AND ABOUT HOW VERY IMPORTANT. I keep hearing of people who’ve sent notes far and wide, and found out that folks forwarded them eventually to a voting Californian who gave it some thought. You just don’t know how many people you can touch. One of the parents at our daughter’s preschool was telling me, in front of school last week, that as much or more than everything else that’s rattling about this is the fact that our state’s constitution can be changed — essentially, in this case, stripped of its fundamental role as a document to help protect the minority from the majority — by a 50% + 1 vote. That is the scariest thing about this whole business.