A huge bankroll for gay marriage opponents in California has not swayed many voters. In fact, a new poll reveals cash-strapped proponents winning.

A new report from The Field Poll released Thursday shows dwindling support for Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in California. The poll found a majority of likely voters (55%) against the amendment, with only 38% saying they would vote for it. The number of Proposition 8 supporters has fallen four percentage points since July's survey, while gay marriage proponents have increased four percent in the same time period. The number of undecided (7%) voters has remained unchanged.

Political and religious affiliations appear to be the two most likely factors influencing voters.

Democrats favor gay marriage the most, with nearly seventy-five percent backing the idea that gay couples should have the right to marry; Republicans hold a nearly inverse view. Only twenty-seven percent of Republicans support gay marriage.

Democrats and Republicans in the State are ostensibly in step with the views expressed by their leaders. While Senator Barack Obama supports civil unions over marriage for gay couples, he has also said he supports defeat of Proposition 8. Senator John McCain offers an opposing view. The Arizona Senator voted against a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but he did so because he believed it was matter to be decided by the states. Since that time, he has said he does not support marriage or marriage-like rights for gay and lesbian couples, and campaigned for a similar gay ban in Arizona in 2006.

However, while the report suggests conforming political ideologies, religious voters appear to hold diverging views on gay marriage.

Senior Protestant bishops in the State have voiced their opposition to the gay marriage ban. Still, a majority of protestants polled (52%) say they oppose gay marriage. Last week, California's six most senior protestant bishops released a gay-affirming statement saying marriage would enhance the “Christian values” of monogamy, love and commitment for gay and lesbian couples.

“Jesus calls us to love rather than hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than fear,” says the statement signed by California's six most senior bishops. “We believe that this continued access [to gay marriage] promotes Jesus' ethic of love, giving, and hope.”

The poll reveals just the opposite for Catholics, where a majority (55%) back gay marriage despite calls from their leaders to oppose it.

Pope Benedict, the head of the Catholic church, has often condemned homosexuality while rallying against gay marriage.

“The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society that can not be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions,” Benedict said a day after the California Supreme Court overruled a 2000 voter-approved gay marriage ban.

Catholic leaders in California have heeded the call, forming coalitions and donating millions in support of the gay marriage ban.

“We're asking people to volunteer to help in parishes, to participate in telephoning, talking with neighbors,” Bill May, chairman of Catholics for the Common Good, told the Catholic News Service. “This is a really important issue. Marriage is the foundation of the family. People are very upset that the [State] Supreme Court overruled the will of the people.”

While the health of Proposition 8 appears to be in question, it is most certainly not dead. Opponents of gay marriage continue to flood the State with millions of dollars; over $5 million has been raised since Sept. 1.

Proponents of gay marriage say their money-raising efforts are trailing significantly, raising fears that an expensive, last-minute campaign against gay marriage could eliminate marriage rights for gay couples in the State.

“They are raising an unprecedented amount of money to eliminate an existing right that lesbian and gay people now have,” Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors told the Southern Voice.