A California state ballot measure to ban gay people from getting married is gaining support, according to the latest opinion polls.

A Public Policy Institute of California found Proposition 8 losing 52% to 44% among likely voters.

4% are undecided. In polls taken in August and September by the institute found double digit leads for opponents of the measure.

Proposition 8 would amend the state Constitution to “eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry.”

In May the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriages in the state.

The Court voted 4 to 3 to strike down the ban.

Opponents of gay marriage raised more than a million signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.

“The vote on Proposition 8 could get closer between now and the election, because we know that Californians are evenly divided in general on whether they favour or oppose gay marriage,” said Mark Baldassare, President and CEO of the PPIC.

A high turnout for the Presidential elections on the same day, November 4th, may tip the balance for Proposition 8.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama is leading in the polls in California, and he is expected to win the state, the most populous in America.

It has 55 electoral college votes. To win a candidate needs 270 electoral college votes, which are assigned to each state based on their population.

In all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, the College works on a winner-takes-all basis.

However, the Obama campaign’s reliance on first time and younger voters has worried strategists, as they are groups with a low turnout at the polls.

The PPIC poll found wide margins in the race for the White House.

Democratic ticket of Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden has increased its lead over Republican contenders Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin to 23 points (56% to 33%), a 13-point gain in the last month.

Independent voters, women, Latinos, and younger voters support Obama-Biden by a wide margin.

Party loyalty remains high, with Democratic voters’ support of the Democratic ticket (89%) increasing by 5 points in the last month.

A strong majority of Republican likely voters (75%) back their party’s nominees, but that support has dropped 8 points since last month.

“A big turnout for the top-of-the-ticket Presidential race could have a significant impact on the rest of the ballot, from the propositions to legislative races,” said Mr Baldassare.

As the most populous state, California has the most electoral college votes.

The PPIC poll is based on a telephone survey of 2,004 California adult residents interviewed from October 12-19, 2008. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sampling error for the total sample is ± 2% and for the 1,186 likely voters is ± 3%.