03/01/2013 09:59 am ET

California Latinos Favor Gay Marriage, New Poll Shows

Republicans hoping to appeal to Latino social conservatism may want to avoid the gay marriage issue.

Some 56 percent of California Latinos now support same-sex marriage, according to a Field Poll released Thursday. The figure marks a jump from 50 percent three years ago, La Opinión reports.

The new poll is consistent with other recent surveys that have shown a steady rise of support for gay marriage in the Latino community, bucking the common view of Hispanics as socially conservative group. Exit polls after the 2012 presidential elections found that Latinos voters were more likely than any other group surveyed to approve if their state legalized gay marriage.

Thursday's Field Poll surveyed 834 registered California voters and found more support for gay marriage among the total voter pool, with 61 percent. Registered members of the GOP and those who described themselves as politically conservative both opposed legalizing gay marriage.

The news comes as the Obama administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to declare Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. That move represented a shift from the White House’s previous policy of leaving states to decide the issue, Politico reports.

The Republican Party has launched an effort in recent weeks to boost its standing among Latino voters. Since losing both houses of the state legislature and the governorship, the GOP now teeters on the brink of irrelevancy in California if it can’t make inroads with the state’s soon-to-be largest ethnic group.

Latinos account for 38 percent of California’s population. Hispanics are projected to become the largest demographic group in the state by next year.



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