SACRAMENTO, CA, September 19, 2008 ( – A new study has found that polls conducted prior to elections tend to greatly underestimate voter support for true marriage amendments that are set to appear on the election ballots. The study suggests that California’s Proposition 8, which will appear on November’s ballot, is likely more widely supported than pollsters claim.

The study, which compared polling in 26 states, found that polls conducted prior to elections underestimated support for true marriage measures by an average of 7%. In some cases, polls undershot the true acceptance of a measure by as much as 21%. Only in Arizona did support for marriage actually drop when voters hit the booths, by 3 percentage points.

While the latest traditional marriage proposition, Proposition 8 in California, appears, according to some polls, to be out of favor with voters, the study suggests it’s highly likely that Proposition 8 is not in as much peril as pollsters are claiming.

“Recent polls published by California media outlets claim that Proposition 8 to restore marriage in California as between a man and a woman, is trailing among voters. These polls, including the Field Poll released this week, suffer from the same historic problem that other polls on this subject around the country have had: they do not accurately reflect the true support for traditional marriage,” said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for, the sponsors of the California marriage initiative who released the study.

“For example,” said Schubert, “the Field Poll showed that support for Proposition 22 in 2000 was at 53% right before the election, yet over 61% of voters supported the proposition.”

The recent Field Poll Schubert mentions shows a significant drop in support for Proposition 8 after the wording of the initiative was changed to say that the Proposition “eliminates (the) right of same-sex couples to marry.” Marriage supporters have criticized the new wording as a deliberate attempt to put the proposition in a negative light.

But Schubert expects that, while voters may not want to appear opposed to same-sex “marriage” in the polls, they will stand by their values when the decisive moment comes.

“I can’t say for sure why polls almost always understate support for traditional marriage,” said Schubert, “but I believe it is because the media portrays same-sex ‘marriage’ as being politically correct. Supporters of traditional marriage don’t want pollsters to consider them intolerant, so they mask their true feelings on the issue.

“The result is that support for traditional marriage rises considerably when voters cast their ballots in the privacy of the voter booth. It is my opinion that the same thing will happen in California when voters cast ballots on Proposition 8.”

To see results of the new study comparing voter polls with actual results, and for more information on Proposition 8, visit