SSM and the Manufacture of Consent


Doug Mainwaring and Stella Morabito in the Washington Examiner about the constant attempt to shift public opinion on marriage through misleading polling:

"Polling data is easily manufactured through intensive campaigns by special interests such as the gay marriage lobby. Such data are then publicized and repeated to create a false illusion of collective belief. This is known as an "opinion cascade."

White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and economist Timur Kuran once wrote a Stanford Law Review article on this topic, referring to a cascade as "a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse."

Poll numbers, celebrity endorsements, politically correct media hype and other forces work together to shut up those who disagree with same-sex marriage and to construct an illusion of much broader support than exists. Once individuals perceive social punishment for expressing a dissenting view, they often clam up, and thereby aid the cascade. But such a process creates fragile support."


  1. Ash
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Excellent article. :)

    I've always figured that the constant citing of polls, the words of celebrity talking heads, and the pervasive dialogue style in the media which all but assumes that ssm is a good thing, are part of a strategy to convince marriage supporters that they are alone in their beliefs. Needless to say, the strategy hasn't worked. Too many people are unwilling to let go of marriage. They may quiet down when told that everyone disagrees with them, but they sure let loose in the voting booth--only to find out that they are really in the majority.

    Another great piece with Doug Mainwaring's name on it. :)

  2. Michael Worley
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Remove this one.

    The author mischarachterized the PPP poll. It was 6 points off, not 16. 55 were in favor of banning the same-sex marriage amendment

  3. Michael Worley
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    in favor of banning same-sex marriage, I mean.

  4. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I've come to suspect the numbers are completely fabricated, that no polling is done at all.

    The only reason anyone supports marriage redefinition is that they're too busy and/or lazy to learn of its many negative consequences to society.

    The sound bites sound good on the surface, and they're repeated ad nauseum by the complicit media. Besides, my uncle's dentist is gay. Therefore it must be a good idea, right?

    Those who actually take the time to learn something about marriage redefinition are very unlikely to support it.

  5. OvercameSSA
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The process does create fragile support. In fact, we've learned that whatever support there may in fact be is often swept away when a voter is inside the voting booth and has the opportunity to truly consider the issue.

  6. AM
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    A mile wide but an inch deep.
    Shallow arguments make for shallow support.

  7. Chairm
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly, SSMers routinely denounce majority opinion as mob rule. Except, you know, when they hope to claim the majority favors the SSM idea. Oh, then, the majority is golden.

    Even when they manufacture the majority out of ... what?


  8. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    One thing we can say, Chairm, is they've been consistently inconsistent.

  9. Spunky
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The article claims

    Last spring, just prior to a similar vote in North Carolina, highly regarded Public Policy Polling reported 55 percent - 41 percent in favor. Same sex marriage went down in flames there, 61 percent to 39 percent -- a huge 16 point discrepancy between polling and balloting.
    Same-Sex Marriage and the Manufacture of Consent

    But as Rob Tisinai points out,

    Wow — you mean polling had support for marriage equality at 55%, but actually voting only came to 39%? What an embarrassment…

    …for the Washington Examiner. PPP’s 55% polling figure represented opposition to marriage equality. Yes, there’s still a difference when it comes to the actual vote, but there’s no “huge 16 point discrepancy.” Looks like they’ll need to find a new way of dismissing the recent Maryland poll.
    Just a Quick Laugh

    Here's the PPP source.

  10. Pat
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Why exactly do other people NEED your consent to live peacefully in the first place?

  11. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    They don't Pat. :)

  12. Spunky
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    It looks like Michael Worley beat me to the punch.