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Poll: Marriage ban trails, but gap slims

SACRAMENTO -- A ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in California is trailing heading into the final days of the November election, but the gap has narrowed over the last month, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The survey by the Public Policy Institute of California also found only lukewarm voter support for two other initiatives.

Proposition 4 would require parental notification before most minors could get an abortion, while Proposition 11 would strip state legislators of the power to draw their own districts.

Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that authorized same-sex marriages, was supported by 44 percent of the 1,186 likely voters questioned by the Public Policy Institute in a telephone survey conducted Oct. 12-19. Fifty-two percent opposed it.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The survey findings released Wednesday were only slightly changed from a poll conducted in mid-September by the institute.

That poll found 41 percent in support of Proposition 8 and 55 percent opposed.

Chip White, a spokesman for the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, said other polls have found his side in the lead.

"Even this PPIC poll shows we're gaining momentum," he said. "This is going to be a close race all the way to Election Day."

Steve Smith, a spokesman for the group opposing Proposition 8, did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The abortion-notification measure had a 46 percent to 44 percent lead in the Public Policy Institute poll. In September, it led 48 percent to 47 percent.

Voters rejected similar parental notification proposals in a special election in 2005 and again in November 2006.

Albin Rhomberg, a spokesman for the Yes-on-Proposition 4 campaign, said the measure's supporters were "cautiously optimistic" they would succeed this time.

"However, we're not starry-eyed about this from previous experience," he added.

Kathy Kneer, director of the No-on-4 campaign, said the institute poll was taken before opposition efforts had hit their "full stride."

"We're confident that voters are going to vote for the third time to defeat this dangerous initiative," she said.

Opponents contend it would encourage some teens to seek risky abortions rather than have their parents learn they were pregnant.