"This underscores the simple reality that in the heat of a ballot
campaign, it's very difficult to move someone on marriage equality --
voters are being hit with messages from both sides," says Geoff Korrs,
the executive director of Equality
California, in a press release today. "As a result, it is essential
that we have majority support for marriage equality before the final months of a campaign."
The report also found that polls
consistently underestimated the amount of voters who would support bans
on legal recognition of same-sex couples. "The share of voters projected
to support a ban on same-sex marriage is typically about three
percentage points less than the actual level of support on election
day," the release stated.
Interestingly, the report disproved
two theories usually advanced to explain the gap between polling and the
final election results. Some have said that people feel pressured to
give a pro-gay response to pollsters in LGBT-friendly states, yet the
report found that the gap was consistent whether polling was done in
live interviews or by an automated
Also, some have said voters are confused during polls by
what a "no" and "yes" vote means. (Remember those commercials where
Margaret Cho explained to the old lady that a "no" vote on Prop. 8 was
actually a "yes" to gay marriage?) But the report showed that the gap
became no smaller over the course of a typical campaign, indicating that
voter confusion was not at fault.
What accounts for the gap?
Nobody seems to know, but it means gay marriage supporters need to lead by a "healthy margin" in the polls, Egan says. Three points isn't going to do it.