A Field Poll of 1,052 registered voters conducted May 17-26 indicates 51 percent of those interviewed favor same-sex marriage while 42 percent disapprove, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported.
The polling data indicate a steady increase in the support of same-sex marriage: 28 percent of Californians said they approved of the issue in 1977, 30 percent in 1985 and 42 percent in 2003.
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo attributes the rising numbers to a "generational replacement" that suggests young voters are more compassionate about offering the same legal rights to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples.
Though the 3.2-percentage-point margin of error shows the issue is clearly a divisive one, DiCamillo called the poll "historical," The San Diego Union-Tribune said.
Politically, there is a wide discrepancy among Democrat and Republican voters. Democrats said they favor the measure by 65 percent while 25 percent of Republican respondents say the same.
The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on May 15 that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the state constitution. There is also to be a same-sex marriage question on the ballot in November.