After seeing the commercials on both sides of Proposition 8, I was certain the initiative would fail.Â The “No” ad was, in my view, far superior, to the “Yes” ad.
Seeing the first polls since since the “Yes” side started running their ad, however, I realize I may have misjudged its effect.Â The latest poll shows “likely California voters overall now favor passage of Proposition 8 by a five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent.“Â And these polls tend to undercount initiative proponents.
I had long thought the California SupremeÂ Court decision mandating gay marriage would lead to a backlash.Â Â People don’t like courts resolving such controversial issues.Â But, I believed the advantage the initiative proponents had had was erased with the language in the voter guide.
Crude as is the “Yes” ad, it does dwells on the court decision, reminding voters that four judges overturned a popular initiative.Â The ad also features “San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming same-sex marriage is here to stay ‘whether you like it or not.’“Â Perhaps, it was that Democrat’s language which swayed voters, reinforcing the sense that citizens didn’t have a say in this matters, that judges and mayors of large cities get to decide these things.
It seems the best strategy now would be to counter that.Â Opponents of 8 must make clear that this initiative gives us the citizens of California a chance to weigh in.Â Instead of saying it’s about preventing the state from taking away a “right,” they must point out the very initiative gives us citizens the choice to resolve these matters.Â This would undercut the proposition’s proponents’ apparently effective use of Newsom’s words.
Now, if only we could find someone to put this in a 30-second television spot.