A recent LA Times poll suggests that a majority of Californians support gay marriage.
Registered voters surveyed in the latest poll said 52% to 40% that “same-sex couples should be allowed to become legally married in the state of California.”
That’s the latest in a string of surveys that have found similar results. A PPIC poll released March 25 found respondents backing gay marriage 50% to 45%. And a Times/USC poll last November found a 51% to 43% split on the issue. As with the previous surveys, the latest Times/USC poll showed a sharp polarization by political party and ideology, with Democrats and liberals supporting same-sex marriage by large margins and Republicans and conservatives opposing it by equally lopsided margins.
So apparently, not only do the majority of Californians support gay marriage, but so do the majority of registered voters, which is what really matters. So, does this mean that gay marriage will be legalized soon in California?
The poll also showed a huge variation by age, with registered voters younger than 30 supporting same-sex marriage by roughly 3 to 1, while a majority of those 64 and older were opposed.
That age division, also seen in every other poll on the issue, suggests that over time, the state’s electorate probably will become even more supportive of same-sex marriage — unless today’s voters in their 20s become more socially conservative as they age. But the divide also poses a challenge for gay rights advocates: Older voters are substantially more likely to turn out to vote than younger voters.
That’s particularly true in non-presidential election years, when turnout in general tends to be lower. So compared with 2008, the electorate in 2010 is likely to have a higher representation of the age groups most opposed to same-sex marriage.
But I thought that young people were coming out in droves to vote for the One. I thought that we’ve been having huge upswings in the number of young people voting. I thought that young people were incredibly politically active and progressively-minded. At least that’s what the media hype has been. So why don’t they actually get out and vote? Perhaps what is coming to light here is the dissonance between voter registration efforts for young people, which often feature free concerts and MTV stars, and the willingness of those registered voters to actually go out and vote. It is an interesting commentary that despite the best efforts of Democrats to register young voters and encourage them to vote, it is the conservatives that are actually responsible enough to do so.
In short, this poll is meaningless. It shows what people would be willing to stand behind, not what they would be willing to actually take action for.