The Field Poll found 61 percent of surveyed voters in California believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed, the highest level of support the organization has ever found on that question in the state.

The findings represent a shift in public opinion on the matter since November 2008, when 52 percent of voters in California approved Proposition 8 to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Leading up to that vote, polls had shown the public narrowly divided on the question.

Defenders of Proposition 8 discounted the random survey.

“Californians voted for (traditional) marriage twice in the only polls that really matter,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents opponents of gay marriage in the case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.