Another new Field Poll shows that the chances look slim that Proposition 98, the more prominent of two ballot measures tackling eminent domain issues, will be passed in next week’s primary election. (In addition to reforming eminent domain, Proposition 98 would eradicate existing local rent control laws across the state.) Likely voters in the primary oppose Proposition 98 by a margin of 43-33% and support the competing initiative, Proposition 99, by a margin of 48-30%. The summary of the poll results points out that the last initiative to feature eminent domain reform, Proposition 90, was defeated by a 52-48% margin in November 2006.
Same-sex marriage is once again a major issue in California politics after the state Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision May 15 that affirmed the right of same-sex couples to wed — and the increased likelihood following that decision that an initiative will appear on the November ballot to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages or any other solemnification of same-sex partnerships.
Two new surveys, one from the Los Angeles Times and KTLA, the other from the Field Poll, highlight the intensity of the balance of opinion about same-sex marriage in California. The Times/KTLA poll, which came out on Friday, showed the proposed initiative garnering 54-35% support among registered voters. The article accompanying the poll said that despite the apparent majority backing the ballot measure, “the state is moving closer to accepting nontraditional marriages” and “because ballot measures on controversial topics often lose support during the course of a campaign, strategists typically want to start out well above the 50% support level.”
The Field Poll, released this morning, showed that for the first time since the organization began asking the question in 1977, a razor-thin majority of California registered voters approves the idea of allowing same-sex couples to marry, by a margin of 51 to 42%. However, reflecting the fact that this opinion balances on the head of a pin, the further demographic breakdowns of the poll reveal much sharper splits, with Republicans, Catholics and Protestants, voters over the age of 65, and Central Valley voters opposing same-sex marriage by wide margins.