Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another reason to support widespread access to a college education for all

Education and income were strong factors in vote against gay marriage

A majority of blacks and Latinos voted to ban same-sex marriage in California last month, but socioeconomics — not race and ethnicity — was the decisive factor in Proposition 8, according to a new statewide survey of voters.

Even after the California Supreme Court's landmark ruling, after an estimated 18,000 same-gender couples wed between June and November, and after the two sides in the Proposition 8 campaign spent more than $83 million to sway voters, the state remains locked in an ideological stalemate on same-sex marriage, exactly as it was three years ago. Neither side in the same-sex marriage debate holds a majority. Forty-seven percent are in favor of same-sex marriage; 48 percent oppose it.

The new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California of 2,003 Californians who voted Nov. 4 found significantly less support for Proposition 8 among blacks than had been indicated by exit polls. Election Day exit polls triggered recriminations between gay rights advocates and black leaders. And now the new data indicates that 61 percent of Latinos voted for the ban, an even higher percentage than exit polls indicated on Election Day.

But while a majority of non-white voters backed a ban on gay marriage, the key finding in the new survey was that voters' position on Proposition 8 was determined more by their level of education and income than their race or ethnicity, said PPIC president Mark Baldassare. Among Californians with a high school diploma or less, 69 percent voted for Proposition 8. Among college graduates, 57 percent voted against it.
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