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Key findings from study of gay marriage polls

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New research shows that polling on gay marriage referendums typically under-represents the anti-gay side … while debunking the most common myth as to why.

Patrick Egan of NYU compared polls on gay marriage ballot measures, to the results of the actual votes. He says the “no on gay marriage” poll result is usually lower than the eventual vote — and has been since 1998.

One theory as to why, is that voters are lying — wanting to seem pro-gay to pollsters, then voting anti-gay in the privacy of the ballot box. But Egan compared numbers between gay-friendly and gay un-friendly states… AND those between person-to-person versus automated polls … and found that’s simply not true.

Egan: “In all of those contexts, we would expect voters to feel more social pressure to supply a pro-gay answer, a more tolerant answer, and in all of those contexts we actually see no such discrepancy between the two modes of interview.”

Egan said he suspects the polls are mis-identifying “likely voters,” who may be different in a vote about social issues than they would be in an ordinary election.

The study also found virtually no change in views, pro- or anti-, between first poll of any given campaign and the last. Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said this information could have made the difference in the battle over Proposition 8.

Kendell: “If we’d had this study two years before Prop 8, I think we could have engaged in the widespread public education hearts-and-minds campaign to hopefully solidify those voters so we have them in our camp going into the campaign. And given that they’re not going to shift their view in the midst of the campaign, we already know we can count them in our column.

Kendall said hearts and minds can’t be won DURING a political campaign, so gay rights supporters need to make it “an INDIVIDUAL campaign.”

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Written by OutQ News staff

June 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Posted in Marriage

Tagged with , ,

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