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THE NOONER for May 10, 2012
Yesterday's announcement by President Obama that he now favors same sex marriage, while leaving it up to individual states, adds a social issue to the political plate that has been dominated by jobs and the economy. Obama says that he had planned to make the announcement sometime before the Democratic convention in September, although it was accelerated by the Veep's comments on Meet the Press.
Obama's announcement is unlikely to swing large groups of voters to him (particularly in the nine swing states), although it reinvigorates a less-than-excited GLBT base. I can't wait until June 20, when the May monthly finance reports are due. Expect to see a surge in contributions from GLBT-friendly ZIP codes beginning on May 9.
Obama would love for the GOP to take the bait and to turn 2012 into a culture war election, so he can take back the economic mantel. The Romney campaign is unlikely to bite.
But, how does it play in California? In the same election in which it gave Barack Obama 61.1% of the vote, the electorate also adopted a constitutional prohibition on gay marriage. Eighteen congressional districts that gave a majority of votes to Obama also voted in favor of Prop. 8. And, if you look in the chart below, some of these were Obama landslide districts with also large votes for Prop. 8 (particularly in strong African-American and Latino districts).
Of course, there has been lots of "evolution" since 2008 on the issue, and not just in the First Family. The Field Poll in February found that 59% of Californians now support gay marriage, while that number was only 51% in 2008. That number dropped to 49% in February of 2009 following the Prop. 8 campaign, but has had a huge rebound. There are two causes of this--demographics and societal opinion change. Young voters (18-39) are far more likely to support same-sex marriage (69%) than voters over 65 (45% support). Meanwhile, as more long-term same-sex couples are recognized in society (whether legally in 7 states or otherwise), people have become more accepting.
It has always been a matter of time, and that time is probably now. Gay rights groups in California have been split on strategy. Some wanted to try to repeal Prop. 8 in 2010 and then 2012, while others wanted a couple of more years of a cooling off period (and to allow for more demographic change) before another costly campaign. Few were excited when Ted Olson and David Boise joined to challenge Prop. 8 in the federal courts, although that very California-specific case could be Prop. 8's undoing. The Ninth Circuit is currently considering whether to have an en banc rehearing of the case.
If the legal case to overturn Prop. 8 fails at either the Ninth Circuit en banc or at the U.S. Supreme Court, proponents of same-sex marriage likely missed an ideal opportunity to overturn it this November.
With voters mainly focused on the economy, along with demographic changes, opinion shift, and now the support of a black president, I would be willing to bet that voters are ready to scrap Prop. 8.
In 2008, 32 congressional districts in California (well, the "new" districts) voted yes on Prop. 8 while 21 voted against it. If the same election were held today, I would project 24 would vote yes, 29 would vote no, and the statewide "yes" vote would be 46-48%, rather than the 52% in 2008.
Maybe that's why Pugno is looking for another career...
GOLDEN PARACHUTE: Senator Sam Blakeslee will be forming a public policy thinktank when his term ends this year. And, the seed funding for the California Reform Institute is coming from none other than Charles Munger. Munger bankrolled the redistricting reform measures that left Blakeslee without a district.
Herdt takes a deeper look into the California Senior Advocate League I wrote about yesterday. He notes that the committee spent $35,000 for mailers in support of Charlotte Svolos, a Republican running in the very Democrat SD35. Senate GO committee chairman Rod Wright is running, along with Svolos and Democrat Paul Butterfield.
"So why would the Chevron-funded PAC support a token Republican candidate in a Senate race? The only explanation is to help Wright by trying to make sure Svolos gets enough votes in the primary to finish a distant second, but ahead of the other Democrat. The expenditure on Svolos' behalf is cynically manipulative."
CD26: LA Times endorses Rep-turned-NPP Ventura County Supe Linda Parks.
DESIGNED IN CALIFORNIA: Your Mac power adaptor is also a great beer bottle opener. No more ruining hotel room furniture.
APOLOGIES: To the Capitol Morning Report, for the item yesterday that may not have come across right. The item on AD18 candidate Joel Young misrepresenting an endorsement was an error in his camp, not CMR.
Leading donors to federal IE committees:
Committee for an Effective Valley Congressman
House Majority PAC
Inland Empire Taxpayers for Jobs
Jerry Brown Tells Unions State Payroll Costs Need To Come Down
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
State workers' pay is back on the budget chopping block. Officials representing Gov. Jerry Brown met with state employee union leaders last week and delivered the news: A budget revision he'll release Monday includes a new proposal to cut payroll costs in the upcoming fiscal year.
Obama Backs Same-sex Marriage, Fires Up Both Sides
Carla Marinucci,Joe Garofoli @ sfgate.com
President Obama's historic move Wednesday to support same-sex marriage could ripple all the way to the November election, helping unite his liberal base while threatening to ignite evangelical voters who have yet to...
Billionaire Will Give $20 Million For Corporate Tax Hike Initiative
Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
Billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer will donate $20 million toward an initiative that would raise $1 billion annually from multi-state corporations for green building projects and the state budget, proponents said today.
Where Do State's Billions Come From -- And Go?
Teri Sforza @ taxdollars.ocregister.com
Voters are of two minds on the governor's proposal to hike sales taxes, which is on the November ballot...
Proposed Tweak To Term Limits Makes Eminent Sense
George Skelton @ latimes.com
By allowing California legislators to serve 12 years in one house, Prop. 28 would instill some adult supervision and dampen political ambition, especially in the Assembly.
Jerry Brown Appoints Caltrans Chief, Honors Workers
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown today defended the work of the public sector as that which "ties us together," speaking at a memorial for Caltrans employees killed while working last year.
California Politicians Praise Obama's Support For Same-sex Marriage
Top California politicians hailed President Obama's statement of support for same-sex marriage.
President Barack Obama announces support for same-sex marriage
Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey @ mercurynews.com
President Barack Obama says he now supports same-sex marriage, ending months of equivocation on a subject with powerful election-year consequences.
Same-sex Marriage: How Will It Play Politically?
President Obama hoped that announcing his change of heart in favor of same-sex marriage would put the issue to rest as a topic in his bid for re-election.
Southland Reaction Split On Obama's Support Of Gay Marriage
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been a longtime supporter of gay marriage and officiated at weddings in City Hall during the brief period when same-sex marriages were legal in California, praised the president's comments.
President Obama’s Calculated Gamble On Gay Marriage
Chris Cillizza @ washingtonpost.com
In truth, Obama’s hand was forced on the issue by comments made by Vice President Joe Biden over the weekend in which he seemed to express support for gay marriage.
“the Gavin Newsom Show,” Stocked With Stars, Debuts May 18 On Current Tv
Wyatt Buchanan, Michael Collier, Richard Dunham, Bob Egelko, Joe Garofoli, Marisa Lagos, Carolyn Lochhead, Carla Marinucci, @ blog.sfgate.com
“The Gavin Newsom Show,” stocked with stars, debuts May 18 on Current TV
Analysis: Obama Gambles With Gay Marriage Move
Charles Babington @ sacbee.com
Public opinion about gay marriage has changed so rapidly that President Barack Obama's historic embrace of it may pose as many political risks to Republicans as to the president and his fellow Democrats.
California Lawmakers Push For Fracking Rules
California lawmakers took preliminary steps to increase the size of the state's oil and gas agency -- with the condition that regulators draft rules for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial form of oil extraction that some say can pose a hazard to drinking water.
Gay Marriage: Are Obama And Californians In Sync?
John Myers @ news10.net
Perhaps President Obama is, deep down, a Californian ... at least on same-sex marriage.
Republican San Diego Mayor Applauds Obama's Support Of Gay Marriage
Tony Perry @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican who risked his political career by supporting gay-marriage, applauded President Obama's decision Wednesday to support marriage equality.
Political Times: A Watershed Moment, if Not a Case of Bold Leadership
MATT BAI @ nytimes.com
Future historians may well describe President Obama's declaration on gay marriage as righteous or inspiring or a watershed moment. What they probably won't call it is a case of bold political leadership.
Civil unions: Colorado governor to call special legislative session
Los Angeles Times @ latimes.com
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to call a special session of the Legislature as soon as Friday to resolve a debate over civil unions that ended without a vote when the regular legislative session came to a close earlier this week.
Editorial: President takes a risk as he makes history
President Barack Obama's announcement on Wednesday that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal could cost him votes in swing states such as North Carolina, Ohio and Nevada, and, by extension, his re-election. That's what makes his historic announcement all the more significant.
Gay donors thrilled by Obama gay marriage stance
Joseph Tanfani, Matea Gold and Melanie Mason @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- President Obama’s decision to embrace gay marriage may add a political complication to his reelection bid, but it is also unleashing a wave of new financial support from gay and lesbian donors who were already major backers of his candidacy.
Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal
By publicly endorsing same-sex marriage in a television interview, the president took a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day.