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For week ended November 28, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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Knight initiative foes gaining ground in poll

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Knight initiative foes gaining ground in poll
San Francisco CA Examiner 22Nov99 N1
ByAnastasia Hendrix and Zachary Coile: Examiner Staff

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- A new poll by the San Francisco Examiner and KTVU-TV indicates that support for the Knight initiative, which would keep California from recognizing gay marriages, may be eroding slightly. The most recent poll shows both a small reduction in the percentage of voters that support the measure, and a smaller increase in the number of voters that oppose it.

However, the polling firm employed by the Examiner and KTVU still thinks that the initiative will pass, "This thing will probably pass," said Del Ali of the Maryland-based Research 2000. "It's almost December, its (support is) over 50 percent and it's staying there." The vote on the proposal is scheduled for March 2000.

In the most recent poll, 51 percent of voters said they supported the Knight initiative, down from 54 percent last June, while 39 percent opposed it, up from 38 percent. And some voters seem to have made up their mind, but aren't saying yet how they will vote. Only 8 percent said that they hadn't yet decided how to vote.

These poll results are in line with a recent Field Poll, conducted last month, which found 50 percent of voters approved of the initiative while 41 percent opposed it.

The initiative has gained notariety for donations by the Catholic Church to the campaign and for support from the LDS Church which has urged members to donate to support the campaign. The measure would prohibit California from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized in another state. While no other state currently recognizes these marriages, either Vermont or Hawaii could recognize them if current court cases were resolved in a way that allows them.

Opponents of the initiative say that the polls don't mean that the initiative will pass. Mike Marshall of the No on Knight campaign was encouraged by an increase in the number of undecided voters. That shows that as people are beginning to hear and learn about this initiative, clearly they have serious questions about its intent and effect," he said.

And even supporters of the initiative are cautious, Rob Stutzman of the Protection of Marriage Committee, which supports the initiative, says that its too early to trust the polls, "I don't think we'll see much movement in numbers, if at all, until there's a focused public campaign," he said. "There's been virtually no campaign activity in the public's eye from either side." But Stutzman expects that public campaigning will happen after the begining of the year, "This race is going to come down to spending, unfortunately," he said.

As of September, the Protection of Marriage Committee has raised $3 million and the No on Knight campaign recently reached the $1 million mark.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information