The closeness of the vote on Proposition 8 differs dramatically from the state's presidential contest. A Field Poll released earlier this week gives Obama a whopping 22-point lead over McCain in California. This enormous advantage for Obama, however, has not translated into similar success for opponents of Proposition 8, despite the fact that the Democratic presidential candidate himself opposes the measure.
In an earlier blog post, I argued that Democrats who believe that a November Democratic Sweep would represent a dramatic shift in the nation's political ideology are deluding themselves. In addition to the quality and skillfulness of Democratic candidates, the party's success stems, in large part, from GOP exhaustion, the declining economy, the poor state of the war, and the historically low approval ratings for President Bush. The fact that California, a pretty safe state for liberal candidates, might pass an anti-gay constitutional amendment demonstrates that social conservatism remains attractive for a significant portion of the electorate, even though many of those same voters support Obama's candidacy. For more on this subject, see: "Split Ticket? What California's Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage Means for U.S. Liberals."
My fellow Democrats need to discard their mistaken belief that a seismic shift in the nation's general ideology has occurred. With all of the irrational exuberance safely behind them, they can use their immense talents to develop strategies to persuade a center-right American public to embrace center-left political agendas. The steamroller approach that some Democrats now advocate (see, e.g., HuffingtonPost essay urging Democrats to ignore the GOP and my pointed response) will only invite a serious electoral backlash -- just as the GOP's excesses during the last 8 years have now created.