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CA Pollsters on Prop 8

Topics: California , Divergent Polls , Proposition 8

Last week, I attended the two-day annual conference of PAPOR -- the Pacific chapter of AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research. One panel included representatives of three California pollsters, the Field Poll, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and the LA Times Poll. Posted below are brief interviews I conducted via FlipVideo with Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field poll, and Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the PPIC.

The panelists (including PPIC's Jennifer Paluch and the LA Times' Jill Darling) generally agreed that support for the "yes" vote was trending upward in the final week of the campaign and that the final shift in the yes direction could be explained by the conflicting views of roughly one-in-five of those supporting the "no" side as of mid-October. The final PPIC survey (fielded 10/12-19), for example showed the "no" vote leading, 52% to 44%, while also showing California likely voters divided evenly (47% favor, 49% oppose) on "allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married." As such, 19% of those who said they were voting no also said they were opposed to same-sex marriage. In PPIC's post-election survey, only 8 percent were opposed to same-sex marriage (see also Mark Baldassare's recent op-ed, "Why the Same Sex Marriage Ban Passed).


In the interview, Field's DiCamillo repeated an argument he made in a guest contribution on our site shortly after the election, suggesting a "Sunday before Election" church effect:

The Field Poll, completed one week before the election, had Catholics voting at about their registered voter population size (24% of the electorate) with voting preferences similar to those of the overall electorate, with 44% on the Yes side. However the network exit poll shows that they accounted for 30% of the CA electorate and had 64% of them voting Yes. Regular churchgoers showed a similar movement toward the Yes side. The pre-election Field Poll showed 72% of these voters voting Yes, while the exit poll showed that 84% of them voted Yes.

I asked both Baldassare and DiCamillo about the long term increase in support for gay marriage and how that might impact future campaigns to overturn Prop 8. Both were cautious about expecting too much from "generational" change, particularly over the next 3 to 4 years.

(See also the Pollster.com Prop 8 polling chart).


 

Comments
peter martin:

The field poll was off by 8% in 2000

In all the states where a constitutional amendment passed, the polls were off by 5 to 7 %.

The day before the vote in California I took the 44% predicted by the poll for the passing of prop 8 and added 8% to it.

I then predicted a result between 52 and 53% and told people around me what the result would be.
I as right on.

Because of the misleading polls (especially field polls), No on 8 were over confident.

With all the history of polls on marriage amendments, how can these pollsters justify their #s.

____________________

peter martin:

In additin the tempering of the words by Jerry Brown cost the yes on 8 several percentage points.

The real results should have been 55/56%.
Lets be clear about this.

Jerry Brown did everything he could to defeat Prop 8

Many people were confused and the words of the ballot initiative made voters want throw up.

Still enough people voted for prop 8 and overcamed the obstacles put in front of them

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peter martin:

Listening to Mark Dicamillo words,it is clear that he personally is on the side of No no 8.

This confirms what I suspected.

Blaming his wrong polls on people going to church 2 days before the election is a quite a stretch

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