Sunday, November 2, 2008

Analysis of the latest Prop 8 polls by Dr. Herek

Continuing his excellent work regarding "sexual orientation, prejudice, science, and policy," Dr. Gregory Herek offers an analysis of the most recent field polls indicating support of and opposition to California's Proposition 8. You can find it here.

Dr. Herek's analysis and explanations are among the most detailed found on the internet right now. I will let you all read it for yourselves, however opposition to the proposition is still in the lead 52% to 44% in support of it. This is a significantly tighter race than in September.

Of note, regarding why the race is still so close, Dr. Herek's explanation is that "old prejudices die hard." He states:

"Perhaps instead we should be remarking on the fact that so many voters have proved reluctant to write antigay discrimination into the California constitution. The widespread opposition to Prop. 8, and the fact that proponents of the measure have been so careful not to publicly bash sexual minorities, are signs of a sea change in public attitudes.

Nevertheless, old prejudices die hard. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are still stigmatized throughout the United States and in much of California. Powerful groups — including the Mormon Church and Focus on the Family — have dedicated their vast resources to perpetuating sexual stigma. And many heterosexuals with generally enlightened attitudes are still uncomfortable thinking about same-sex relationships.

In my own research, I’ve found that heterosexuals’ opinions about marriage equality are very closely linked to their general attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Other factors are also important — including religious beliefs and political values — but antigay attitudes are usually the strongest predictor of marriage attitudes."

Herek's advice? The key factor in the election will be trying to sway the undecided voters. He is urging those who oppose Prop 8 to talk to everyone they know, urge them to vote NO, and tell them why you are voting NO on 8.

I am excited for the likely advance in civil rights that will take place on election day!