Here's the racial break-down of the latest SUSA poll on Prop 8.
While there is definitely slippage between those categories (bi- and multiracial people, people of various racial backgrounds who get racialized as "latino" in the US and accept or reject that label to varying degrees), it's a rough estimate and it'll have to do if we're going to have this discussion about racial groups and their support for same-sex marriage.
What I've been hearing, both from gay people I know and on this site, is an assumption that if Prop 8 passes in California, then it's going to be because of blacks and latinos. Coming from a latino background myself, I can say that the stereotype that all latinos are homophobic is about as true as the stereotype that all white people are homophobic, and the numbers in California support that.
(Update: After putting this up, a William C. Velasquez Institute poll of latino voters put Prop 8 at 46-51.)
Whites in California support Prop 8 48-47, self-identified latinos 47-41. The undecided is much larger among the latter, and that might have to do with poor outreach to Spanish-language media by the No campaign (their TV campaign just put out their first Spanish-language ad this week, right before the election). Also, this issue is relatively new to many people in the latino community when it's put next to to white conservatives' obsession with same-sex marriage specifically. Conservative white Americans' obsession with same-sex marriage is really unparalleled in the world.
But what the numbers for latinos in California don't show is a huge difference. If anything, the SUSA shows that Californian latinos support Prop 8 less, since undecideds tend to end up in the No column on ballot initiatives.
The stereotype of the insecurely macho latino and devoutly Catholic latina who just can't get their minds into the 21st century is often negated by heart-warming acts of acceptance. Those instances don't reach many people, though, and the stereotype prevails.
I'm not saying that there aren't homophobic latinos. Of course there are. But there are also homophobic whites, and they're the ones who've been doing the bulk of the fundraising when it comes to this campaign, they're the ones who are agitating in favor of the amendment, and they're the ones who have been behind the trumping up of this wedge issue for the last couple decades. But we rarely hear mostly-white rallies reported through the lens of race as we would hear about rallies targeted towards latino or black homophobes (if there were any in California this time around).
As for black people, well, their support for Prop 8 is slightly higher than it is for whites in that survey. But the story is that they're going to turn out in record numbers for Obama, putting Prop 8 at risk of passing. Considering that African Americans make up about 6% of the California population, and that their support for Prop 8 is a mere 10 points higher than it is for whites, this narrative is looking more like a manifestation of white gays' general anxiety about putting their well-being in the hands of black people.
Try to deny it all we want, there is a fear among many white gays that they will be harmed by black people (specifically black men), and it manifests itself in strange ways. The idea that a small group of voters will be the reason Prop 8 will pass is looking like a manifestation of that fear.
But, seriously, if turnout is really high for African Americans, let's say about 20% more in California than there is normally, then there would be about one more percentage point of the voting population being black. And that percentage point will be only about 10% more likely to vote for Prop 8. That's a drop in the bucket.
And even that probably won't translate into votes at the ballot box:
And a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box in the last presidential election. When constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage were on 11 state ballots in November 2004, blacks in Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Oklahoma were at least one percentage point less likely than whites to vote for them, according to CNN exit polls. Only in Georgia were blacks slightly more likely to vote for the amendment. (The remaining four states had too few blacks to make a meaningful comparison.)
Blacks, like whites, are divided on the issue. In March 2000, when Californians voted on Proposition 22 (the statutory ban on gay marriage that the state Supreme Court struck down in May), a Los Angeles Times exit poll showed that levels of support were very similar among the major ethnic groups, with Latinos slightly more opposed to allowing gays to marry, Asians and whites slightly less opposed, and blacks right in the middle.
If we're going to blame a racial group for Prop 8 if it passes, we could at least pick the one that's funding it, agitating for it, and who's been using same-sex marriage as a wedge issue for two decades.
Personally, I'd rather not reduce this to a racial dynamic, and blame the Religious Right and homophobes and scared-shitless politicians if it does pass, and then get to work on repealing it.