I'm going to predict, in all my blogger glory, that the marriage amendment in California, Proposition 8, will fail this November. Here's why:
- It's polling pretty badly. A new Field Poll released today says that likely voters are against the amendment to ban same-sex marriage 42-51. (There was another Field Poll with similar numbers two months ago - that was registered voters and asked about approval of same-sex marriage abstractly. This one's much better.)
AZ's amendment was polling 52-40 several months before the election there in 2006, and they were able to turn those numbers into a victory.
Yeah, so the fundies have to climb up a 9-point spread.
- People will get used to same-sex marriage by November. The reason the fundies were trying to prevent same-sex marriages from happening in California before Prop 8 got voted on was because they knew that people would get more and more used to the idea as they see it everywhere and just stop caring about it.
It happened in Massachusetts, where just one year after same-sex marriage started there, 62% of people approved of same-sex marriage, 84% of voters said that same-sex marriage had a positive or no impact on quality of life, and 82% said that it had positive or no impact on heterosexual marriage.
Gail Collins, in her column yesterday, explains why:
After four years, same-sex marriage has also begun to feel normal in Massachusetts. It's not something that comes up in conversation much anymore. There is no greater force against bigotry than the moment when something becomes so routine that you stop noticing it.
One state lawmaker who had originally supported a constitutional amendment against gay marriage changed her mind and voted against it when the measure went down to a final defeat in 2007. She told Pam Belluck of The Times about one of her older constituents who had nagged her to get rid of same-sex unions then turned around and lobbied her to keep them. A gay couple, she said, had moved into her neighborhood: "They help me with my lawn, and if there can't be marriage in Massachusetts, they'll leave."
- The Democratic base is energized, the Republican base is depressed. BarbinMD summarizes an AP/Yahoo News poll conducted mid-June on Republican/Democratic voter excitement:
- 38 percent of his supporters [Obama] say the election is exciting compared to 9 percent of McCain's.
- By 2-to-1 or more, McCain backers are likelier than Obama's to say the campaign makes them bored, angry and helpless.
- More than twice as many Democrats than Republicans have gotten more excited about the campaign since the fall, 22 percent to 9 percent.
Democrats are more likely to go to the polls this fall. They're more likely to volunteer for their respective campaign. They're more likely to work GOTV operations, talk to their neighbors and friends about voting, email everyone they know stuff about Obama, and make sure they make it out to the polls. They're also more likely to vote against the proposition.
- Senator Obama's registering a bunch of new, young voters.His strategy has been, as Marc Ambinder said, "to construct an incredibly elaborate online interface to allow its more than a million donors and volunteers to directly persuade their neighbors through a variety of media."
He just unveiled a competition to get Virginia to register 151,000 new voters, and he's giving his supporters an opportunity to meet him if they register 100 people. It's a 50-state voter registration drive.
Because 18-34-year-old's are splitting Obama more than 2 to 1, and because the easiest way to get new registered voters, especially ones that'll vote Obama, is to hit up the youth, between now and November there will be a disproportionate increase in the number of younger voters in California who aren't being counted right now in the Field Poll. And younger people are more likely to be OK with the gays.
- Fundraising for each side is in a dead heat. This isn't so much a reason to jump for joy, but we're usually the ones out-cashed in these fights. The LA Times has each side of Proposition 8 at around $2.3M on July 16. (There are lots of great stats to wonk out on at that link, too.)
It's not going to win this thing, but we're not the ones who have to move numbers. It's up to them to change people's minds.
- California has one of the best GLBT activist communities in the country. They were able to get same-sex marriage passed twice through the legislature without the courts stepping in. They have employment, housing, and public accommodations protections all around. They're organized, well-funded, experienced, and numerous. Several decades of queer migration to CA hasn't hurt them in this arena one bit.
This doesn't mean give up now. Each reason up there takes into account the fact that LGBT activists will keep on pushing as hard as they can from now till November. But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see California become the first state to defeat a marriage-only constitutional amendment.
I don't usually post predictions, but I'm throwing this one out there. Let's see how it shapes up in November.