A poll released Wednesday found an increasing majority of voters in California support gay marriage, and opposition to the institution has plummeted.

The Field Poll shows support for gay nuptials has grown dramatically over the three and a half years since voters approved Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.

According to the poll, 59 percent of respondents favor giving gay couples the right to marry, while 34 percent disagree.

Opposition has plummeted 8 percentage points since 2008, and 16 points since 2003.

“This is now showing that opinions are changing irrespective of generational replacement,” Mark DiCamillo, who directs the poll, told the Sacramento Bee. “This is real change.”

A lower federal court's ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional was upheld earlier this month by a 3-judge panel. Opponents have appealed the ruling.

DiCamillo credited the increasing number of states legalizing such unions – Maryland and Washington being the latest – and California's ongoing litigation with contributing to the opinion shift. (Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to sign a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers into law on Thursday.)

“The winds of change are blowing in other states [and] when judges start ruling the same way, I believe that has an influence,” he said.