Legal Insurrection: Much-Touted Poll on SSM Actually Shows Majority Oppose SSM


We've seen this before but it's always worth pointing out again -- polls claiming a majority support redefining marriage offer those they poll a false binary choice between redefining marriage and no legal recognition whatsoever:

As Professor Jacobson pointed out the other day, there is an effort already underway to game the refs at the Supreme Court, similar to in the Obamacare case, by creating a media and political narrative that the Court’s legitimacy would be threatened if it were on the “wrong side of history” on gay marriage.

That “gaming the ref” effort was seen the other day at Politico.

Politico’s 9 December headline blared, “Poll: Plurality Support Gay Marriage” which to the undiscerning reader sounds awfully like most people are in favor.

The poll was picked up in many places. The ever excitable writers at Slate saw Politco’s story and quickly ran their own entry with an almost word-for-word headline.

But using their own numbers, Politico could have equally, and perhaps more honestly have written, “Majority Against Gay Marriage“. Or they could have even said “Nation Split on Gay Marriage.” All would have been correct given the actual poll results.

The poll asked which of three views best described a person’s view on gay marriage:

Same sex couples should be able to be legally married;
Same sex couples should be able to enter into civil unions but not be allowed to get married, OR
Same sex couples should not be allowed to have any type of legal union?

Only 40%—a minority—agreed with legal marriage. But 30% said civil unions without marriage was best, and 24% said no marriage and no civil union. That makes 54%—a majority—against marriage.

So while is strictly true that a plurality do support gay marriage when gay marriage is put as one choice of three questions, it is also true, and more faithful to the data, to say a majority is against it. -- Legal Insurrection


  1. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Control the narrative and you control the battle. Answers are influenced by the way the questions are presented. The intent is not to inform but to persuade. It's part of "Choice Architecture," as espoused by Cass Sunstein.

    Controlling the narrative is the only thing that matters in current politics, as witnessed by the re-election of a communist president and the redefinition of marriage in several states. Those who engage in it care nothing about the country or the citizens. Those who fall for it are not that bright.

    The worse things get the more people wake up. In that regard we're in for a very big awakening in the coming months and years.

  2. lhf
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I hope that NOM does not support civil unions. That is unclear from the article about Illinois. There really is no difference between civil unions and civil marriage and as is apparent from the article about Illinois, civil unions are merely the camel's nose under the tent.

    The first attempt to legalize homosexual unions was domestic partnership. It turned out, however, that more heterosexual couples took advantage of "marriage lite." That is a good example of how attempts to get legalization for homosexual unions undermined marriage. There are many private organizations that now grant insurance and other benefits to domestic partners. It would actually be difficult now to differentiate between domestic partnership, civil unions, and civil marriage.

    I still believe we need to find a way to address the 40 % who support redefining marriage. Ryan Anderson has done a terrific job in his book and his articles on Ricochet.

  3. Good News
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    What does “plurality” mean anyway? Let me get my dictionary out again.
    But than again, what does “marriage” mean?
    Oh I give up! They have successfully made scrambled eggs of my brain! A successful lobotomy of my mind. I'm now ready to pleasantly, and without resistance, get into line with the program. To join the gay parade with a smile. I'm free! I'm freed of all conflict with my community; freed from all conflict within myself. I'm happy and gay now. And I'm successfully freed of all truth, completely freed of all that makes me a free man! And I advance, dumb, with the crowd.

    Ah... hang in there my friends. Hang in there. And let not truth be ripped from our souls, the soul of our land. No! I will accept that I live in an occupied land. That the powers that be of my country are my hostile enemy. Accept that I must never get close to them, never be influenced by the evil that renders them drunk and guides their steps.
    I'll accept that I live in occupied land, before I'll accept to kill the truth in my soul. The flame will not be put out!

  4. John B.
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    This is a numbers game that NOM likes to play: the only way to get majority opposition to same-sex marriage these days is by offering 3 options: marriage, civil unions, or nothing. Which makes it all the more odd that NOM continues to oppose even civil unions, putting them in the small and rapidly shrinking of Americans who believe there should be NO legal recognition or protections for same-sex couples. 2/3 of all Americans believe same-sex couples should have legal recognition, the only issue is what to call those unions.

  5. OldKingBlog
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Earth to John B: Is that a sloop whistle I hear, a sloop waiting to take you to a Sixties-inspired fantasy utopia where all is permitted sexually? All the numbers you speak of do not exist!

  6. Mikhail
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Well most of the states which voted on marriage amendments also banned civil unions: California's prop 8 and Hawaii's one were two exceptions. They undermine marriage and give a seal of approval to homosexual attraction, making it like seem normal behaviour. That is why the government of Colorado and Queensland, Australia rejected them

  7. Marc Paul
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink


    do you see the big pie chart above? That's the number. 40% + 30% = 70% of Americans believe in some form of legal union for LBGT couples.

    Glad that NOM is signing up to that at least. Maybe even Brian can see certain defeat in saying 'no unions of any kind'. Even an Italian Catholic Bishop said the same this week.

  8. John B.
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    NOM is being a incredibly disenguous here because NOM is one of the parties forcing that "false binary choice" they're complaining about by opposing civil unions. If NOM is hinting that they're finally willing to compromise on this, it's too little, too late.

  9. Donna
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    John B, basic math...40% is 2/5 not 2/3. more than 1/2 are against gay marriage, as it should be.

  10. Jacqueline
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    The same sex advocates are also using a 'marketing guideline" put out by Freedom To Marry. It's an actual ten-page document, which describes the "right" way to talk to people in general to gain their support of same sex marriage.

    It is very well crafted, loaded, and I DO mean loaded with psychological TRIGGERS that gays are told to use to get sympathy, seem mistreated, and to just overall tug strongly on peoples heartstrings when talking to people about homosexuality and (so called) same sex marriage.

    It even breaks it down on how to approach and talk to different ethnic groups e.g. African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and it focuses on the things those particular ethnic groups really care about. Like with African Americans it’s fairness, with Latinos, it’s family, with Asians it’s tradition and marriage. It tells gays and their supporters just what to say, and how to say it, and even has bolded black wording to indicate the most effective words to use to trigger emotions when talking to people.

    These people don't mind playing word games with people to get what they want, and they are out there "marketing" and "politicking" and “psychologically triggering" people who won't even know they are being emotionally and psychologically manipulated when the gays are talking to them.

    It's a word game, an absolute play on words. They are depending on those psychological triggers to break down people’s resistance. For example, they will say that some people are "struggling" with accepting gay marriage, which implies (to me at least) that a person wants to accept it but still has lingering concerns or doubts, etc. But with the right triggers, they can be persuaded. And wording like "be on the wrong side of history,” "be remembered as," etc are all psychological triggers. Generally speaking, psychological triggering is used mostly in Internet marketing. But the gays have found another use for it.

  11. Good News
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    @ Very nice post Jacqueline. Very valid and interesting, as well as an important reminder. We are all aware of these tactics for the most part, and yet we still do not have a confident way of easily overcoming their emotional talking points. I would say that the side defending true marriage needs to lay out a clear point by point list of reactions and answers to be used for each of the “trigger points” that the same sex advocates bring up. In these cases it has to be emotion applied to emotion; an intellectual and logical response alone will not do toward neutralizing the perverted emotional impact of their argument which is left on the healthy mind of the listener even after the discussion is over.

    Their idea that those against same-sex marriage and the promotion of homosexuality are “struggling” with the idea, is certainly a masterful piece of emotional art work on their part. It does two things right of the bat. It makes it sound that the side of same-sex marriage is where the end of emotional struggle can be found, just accept, and you will find piece. And secondly it makes the homosexual supporters feel that they are on a level of superiority in that they can have sympathy for those “struggling” who simply need to overcome their “erroneous” views. It allows them to be patient, calm, “loving”, condescending, with us as we work through the dark, and toward the light and truth of homosexuality and homosexual marriage.

    Sorry, but not surpised to hear, as your post makes clear, how applied to their agenda, and unrelenting to the human conscience this movement is.
    How to neutralize it? How to stop it? How to reverse it?
    NOM's a good start; but we've got a long way to go, a good fight to fight; for at the moment obscurity and darkness are definitely overtaking the land.

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