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Friday, October 24, 2008

False and Misleading Campaign on Prop 8: Setting the Record Straight

It is tough to tell which side is winning on Proposition 8, the state proposition that would nullify a state Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.

Early in the process the proposition was well behind, but a strong ad campaign has pushed it ahead in some polls.

Polls taken from mid-September showed the initiative well behind in both the Field and the PPIC polls. However, polls in early October showed the initiate passing.

The three most recent polls show uncertainty and confusion.

PPIC on October 16 had the initiative failing 52-44.

SurveyUSA on October 16 had the initiative passing 48-45, within the margin of error.

The latest PPIC poll has 52-44 opposed.

What does this tell us? Well Survey USA appears to consistently have it ahead whereas PPIC has it behind. Have not seen a Field Poll in awhile on it. Field is probably the only statewide polling organization I would trust.

What is clear to me though is that Proposition 8 is at this point too close to call. And if it passes, there are two factors to blame. First, Gavin Newsome the Mayor of San Francisco. I still blame Mayor Newsome for losing the 2004 Presidential election for the Democrats. It was his arrogant battle for Gay Marriage during a Presidential year that allowed Karl Rove and the Republicans to put Gay Marriage bans on the ballots across the country in order to get huge Republican turnouts and that turned races all over including the decisive state of Ohio which decided the Presidency.

Proposition 8 began to turn around when Proponents of the initiative played another arrogant clip of Mayor Newsome.

In this ad he says:
"This door's wide open now. It's going to happen, whether you like it or not."
Of course you have to have seen it to see his exaggerated facial expressions.

And the rest of the implications of that ad are preposterous:
"If the same sex marriage initiative goes down to defeat people will get sued over their personal beliefs, churches may lose their tax exemptions and gay marriage will be taught in public schools, etc."
But the real impact of that ad was the Mayor. Sorry Mayor, but can you not for once keep your big mouth close. If this measure passes it is on you.

Fortunately for the rest of us and Mayor Newsome in particular, the ad campaign has moved on.

Now it show a couple from Massachusetts who say that when their state legalized marriage for same-sex partners, their children in schools were forced to learn that boys could marry boys.

Now it turns out this is false.

Ted Mitchell is the President of the State Board of Education:
"Let me be clear, there is nothing in California state law that would require the teaching of marriage and that will not change. These ads are ridiculous and they are an insult to California's voters."
Delaine Eastin who is the past Superintendent of Public of Instruction:
"That ad is wrong. Not one person with any credibility has said otherwise... Prop. 8 has nothing to do with education, and the proponents know it. Not one word in Prop. 8 mentions education and no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to attend any health-related class. California law prohibits it."
Present Superintendent of Public Instruction has lent his name and credibility to a No on 8 ad that sets the record straight.
"The Yes on 8 ads are alarming and irresponsible. Our public schools are not required to teach about marriage. And, in fact, curriculum involving health issues is chosen by local school governing boards...."
Click on the video below to see that response ad.

What is interesting to me is that the tactic that they have taken. The yes side is not going for a straight on approach with either of their major ads. If they really believed that the majority of the state was against gay marriage, would they not simply do a straight approach, if you do not want gay marriage, vote for Proposition 8. They are not doing that. Instead they are relying on falsified scare tactics to pass the measure. And they have the money to get away with it.

We shall see now if it works.

---David M. Greenwald reporting