Polling Discrepancies

Any time the hot-button issue of same-sex marriage makes headlines for what ever reason, media outlets and activists tout polls which claim the number of Americans who support same-sex marriage is either on the rise — which I don’t dispute with some qualifications — or that it is the majority view.

I’m not disputing that’s what the polls seem to report.  Here’s what’s puzzling though, how are we to explain that when put to an actual vote (as opposed to judicial or legislative fiat), or a poll, a large majority choose to define marriage as only between one man and one woman by an average of 2:1 (See: Marriage Amendment Vote Results)?

It seems to be related to how you ask.  Many polls frame the question as a matter of being in favor of denying equal rights to a segment of the population.  I.e., should same-sex couples receive the same rights as other couples?  Or, should same-sex marriages be made illegal?  And the ballot questions usually simply ask if marriage ought to be defined as one man and one woman.

I think when you put people on the spot, even in the comfort of their home and on the other end of a telephone, there may be a hesitancy to go against the perceived grain of society.  In other words, polls being repeatedly reported gives the perception that most people are for same-sex marriage, you have to ask: who wants to buck the trend and be “on the wrong side of history”?  Moreover, same-sex marriage activists are quick to brand publicly anyone who opposes same-sex marriage as hateful bigots and homophobes.  No one wants that (unless you’re some conservative blogger who loves confrontation), people generally do not want confrontation.  So it is certainly easier to placate the pollster putting you on the spot.

With the recent flip-flop of President Obama on the same-sex marriage issue we should expect an abundance of polls asking the question.  But it appears no matter how many polls show support for same-sex marriage, nothing shines light on the opinion of the populace brighter than the results of a private ballot.


  1. I agree with your premise, and recall that when I was forced to prepare and give a survey in college that a great amount of effort went into proper wording of the questions.

    My question is, how do you (or can you) measure the motivation factor? It seems that foks who go to the polling place and actually vote are more motivated than those on the end of a random phone call. I can see this being a wash, or potentially favoring one side or the other. Or it just might not be a factor.

    • Here’s how I see it Craig. If the public’s view on this issue were what polling reports suggest, then same sex marriage would be the law everywhere a ballot has been held. Why? Because they show half the population supporting it. Even if a random half showed up it would just barely pass or barely not. Not 2:1 margin in favor of traditional marriage. You’d have to say that 2/3 of all voters favor traditional marriage but half the overall population is for same sex marriage? I just don’t buy that, especially when traditional marriage wins even in liberal states.

  2. Marshall Art says:

    At the same time, if those in favor of this deviancy can’t get their butts to the polls, too bad. The ballot box is the only true measure because that motivation that compels some to go vote should account for something, not the flip response to some anonymous caller on the phone. And politician or judge that would move to get legislation passed on the strength of a Gallup poll over the results of the ballot box is obviously an activist for the cause and not concerned with the will of the people.

  3. I’m curious: Do you all seriously doubt that in ten-twenty years, marriage equity will be democratically accepted and these laws banning such will be overturned? I’m not asking if you’ll approve, just if you don’t think that’s obviously coming…

  4. Marshall Art says:

    Dan asks:

    “Do you all seriously doubt that in ten-twenty years, marriage equity will be democratically accepted and these laws banning such will be overturned?”

    Leaving aside the dishonesty inherent in the manner in which the question was crafted, it does seem likely. How can it not with so many reprobates pushing for the acceptance of this sexual deviancy as well as other forms of sexual immorality? People like Dan have done so much to corrupt the culture for so long that I can easily see far worse than this taking place within two or three generations. Our young are inundated with the lies these people tell that a recent story claims that a huge percentage of young people view Christianity as bigoted and prejudiced. This from one small group of people whining that they can’t be treated like normal people while desiring and engaging in abnormal behavior. Then psuedo-christians like Dan join in with the lying, along with secular people with no understanding and it is no wonder our young come away with a poor understanding of the behavior at all. But then they have a poor perception of all things sexual, as evidenced by the numbers of abortions, unwed teen mothers, STDs amongst even junior high school kids.

    But the time frame might still be too soon, if God is really out there (and I know He is). 64% of the states have voted to recognize the actual definition of marriage. These aren’t laws banning anything, as liar Dan states, but 32 states acknowledging what everyone already knew. This was necessary because of the Dans of the nation, and the people they enable, demand the definition be changed to satisfy less than the 2% of the population they represent. If the rest of the country is allowed to have that same privilege of self-determination (something Dan claims to favor), that is, the right to decide by the only poll that matters, this crap about “marriage equity” may never get the chance to get the time of day, which it doesn’t deserve.

  5. And your graceless, bullying, arrogant answers (and non-answer) show exactly why you all are losing this “debate” nationally. You’re trying to defend your notion of morality but you’re engaging in less than moral reasoning and arguments, making you all seem like the bad guys.

    • Dan

      I wrote this post for people like you who claim “we” are losing this debate nationally. I noticed in your first comment you did not tackle my post, but chose to try to take this in another direction. Marshall has answered your off topic comment with why he thinks it will inevitably be accepted in the decades to come.

      Now man up and answer my post or I’ll start getting happy with the “delete comment” button.

      • Dan Trabue says:

        ? Answer your post?

        Your post posits that sometimes, survey results are influenced by the question asked. Of course that is true. Your post posits that sometimes people might tell pollsters one thing and yet vote another way. Of course that is true. For instance, most folk oftentimes might not admit to racial prejudice in a poll, but when it comes down to voting for someone, racial prejudice might have a lot to do with how they vote.

        I wasn’t disagreeing with your ideas expressed, I was just asking a related question: On THIS PARTICULAR topic, do you think that polls are not accurately reflecting a trend towards eventual support of marriage equity?

        It seems related to me, I’m sorry if it wasn’t and withdraw the question. I meant no harm, it was just a question.

        • Dan

          Peddle your rhetorical BS to someone else. Your position is that polls are showing that folk on my side of the issue is losing nationally. The only way to quantify that is with national polling. However, when a vote is offered to the people, the people overwhelmingly cast their vote in favor of traditional marriage by an average of two-to-one. How then can you justify your opinion that nationally people with my view are losing?

          • Dan Trabue says:

            I’m saying that the trends are moving away from supporting bans/not allowing gay marriage and towards acceptance of marriage equity. I’m saying the trends show that more and more – especially amongst young folk – people are accepting/expecting marriage equity. Today, the numbers (at least in the voting population in places where it has come to a ballot) are in your favor. Soon, that won’t be the case.

            In short, the supporters of marriage bans are dying off. As accepting young folk move into more responsible voters and non-accepting older folk die off, the support for bans will go away and the demand for (what they perceive to be justice) marriage equity will increase and the bans will be removed. I was just asking if you don’t think this is the case – regardless of whether you agree with it, don’t you see this as the way things are trending?

            Again, just a question. You are entirely free to express the opinion, “NO, I do not think that opinions are trending that way,” or “yes, sadly, I think that is the wave of the future…” or ignore it altogether, it was just a question.

            • Again Dan

              How do you justify that opinion. I didn’t ask what your opinion is, I asked how you came to that opinion. Votes are happening almost every year, and every year by 2:1 the results are for traditional marriage. You are evading this fact.

              So for the third time, how do you justify your opinion? Please do not repeat your opinion as I already know what it is.

              • Dan Trabue says:

                Because the data that exists (ie, polling data over the last 30 years from multiple sources) demonstrate that where, 30 years ago, support for marriage equity was very minimal, now it hovers somewhere around the 50% margin. Moreso for younger groups.

                I’m just looking at the data and see no reason to presume that 10-20 years from now, marriage will not be a right afforded to gay or straight folk. Do you want me to cite the opinion polls?

                I’m not evading the fact that in states where votes banning gay marriage have happened, that those votes have gone the way of the marriage-ban-supporters. I’m speaking of the trend on opinions. Given the trend towards support for marriage equity, I don’t see these bans lasting much longer. Do you think those opinions offered in polls aren’t real?

              • I explained why I think polls don’t reflect the will of the people as well as the opportunity to vote where they don’t have to worry about being judged by someone on the other end of a phone.

                I don’t need you to cite anything since I cite it in the post. I think you want same sex marriage so bad you are unwilling to take in the implications of how the population voted over the last 15 years so consistently even in liberal states.

  6. And your graceless, bullying, arrogant answers (and non-answer)…
    There is a bunch of crap in that line. Dan always has to frame himself as a victim. I saw nothing “graceless, bullying, arrogant” in response to Dan, and yet he has to describe it that way to demonize his opposition.

    And the claim is always about “marriage equity,” as if refusing to allow same-sex unions to be called marriage thereby makes something unequal about marriage! Such lies and propaganda from the homosexualists!

  7. Dan,
    No one has ever banned same-sex fake marriage. Anyone who practices deviant sexual behavior can “marry” any time they want.

    What laws are doing is preventing the redefinition of marriage by activists such as you.

    It isn’t at all about “marriage equity,” since every one is under the same laws, what it is about is demanding societal sanction and approval. While there are those who will give it voluntarily (a minority of people, who shake their fists at God), homosexualists want to force everyone to do so. And that’s what the PEOPLE vote down every time.

    I read a good article this morning which says the same things we have all been saying all along:

  8. Marshall Art says:

    Dan says,

    “And your graceless, bullying, arrogant answers (and non-answer) show exactly why you all are losing this “debate” nationally.”

    I feel compelled to correct this new dishonest statement. (Why you can’t engage honestly, Dan, is another question.) There’s nothing graceless at all in what I’ve said, unless speaking truthfully is graceless. I know it often is framed that way by those on the wrong side of the truthful statement. That is, the truth hurts, so the speaker must lack grace for daring to be truthful. So be it. I lack grace. This would also take care of the bullying accusation, and, for that matter, the supposed arrogance.

    It does not in the least demonstrate why we might be losing the debate, if indeed we are losing it. The lying by your side is more the issue there, as we also have to overcome the lies as well as the ignorance. The lies are blasted all over the media and entertainment. The truth is often dismissed by those outlets, or given little opportunity to fully reveal itself. YOU are more than happy to perpetuate the lies and do so in pretty much every statement on the subject you type.

    “You’re trying to defend your notion of morality but you’re engaging in less than moral reasoning and arguments, making you all seem like the bad guys.”

    I, for one, have never engaged in anything LESS than moral reasoning, using Scripture as it is written, for example, as well as logic in the self-evidence of homosexuality’s abnormality. I’ve defended my positions every step of the way and continue to do so without an equally reasoned and logical contrary argument. For example, I’ve yet to hear of just one study that proves, or at least suggests, that there is no abnormality at the heart of homosexual attraction. Instead, I get comparisons regarding homosexuals living “normal” lives. But such never gets to the underlying issue, that of a species of two genders, each designed for the other in compatibility and biological purpose and the phenomenon of a member of one gender feeling attractions to another of one’s own gender. How is this normal as if it is in any way supposed to be happening, that one act against one’s design?

    But I’m not looking to get off topic, but only used the above as an example of how I am not being given the respect of the reasoned and moral arguments I am accused of lacking. Instead, I get hyperbole, victimhood and emotion-based whining.

    • Yes, supposedly more and more young people, college-aged down, are more accepting of homosexuality. But that is a direct result of the brainwashing propaganda fed to them in these institutions. They are told if they believe otherwise they are bigots and homophobes, that they are against “equality” that they are discriminatory. Brainwashing children is so easy that even HItler said he didn’t care about what the adults thought because he had their children.

      • Dan Trabue says:

        So, is offering reasonable, well-thought-out, moral arguments in support of marriage equity “brainwashing,” but demonizing and falsehoods in opposition to marriage equity is only “good teaching,” Glenn?

        Here’s the thing: You’re losing the argument NOT because we have some desire to reject God or to promote immorality. You’re losing the argument because you seem irrational and you seem to be promoting injustice and immorality and doing so in an off-putting manner.

        That is my opinion. You all can reject my opinion if you so choose, but rather than killing the messenger, you might begin to consider more seriously why you’re losing the argument. Just calling everyone who disagrees with you immoral, fools, and other names is not going to help you any.

        Not that I mind. I want you to lose the argument because I think you’re mistaken.

        • “reasonable, well-thought-out, moral arguments in support of marriage equity”

          Dan, you are such a liar. As Craig pointed out, you homosexualists aren’t interested in “marriage equity,” you only want same-sex fake marriage sanctioned and approved by the gov’t and forced on the populace. And there are NO “reasonable, well-thought-out” let alone “moral” arguments for promoting, sanctioning and approve of homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior is as immoral and unreasonable/illogical as it gets!

  9. John,

    Thanks for your answer.


    I am unaware of anywhere in this country where “gay marriage” is banned, or illegal. If there is such a place I’d be interested in knowing where it is. Also, drop the “marriage equity” line. The only group of people who you are interested in is homosexuals, at least own that and stop pretending like you want somethine else.

    I’m not sure how much stock I’d put in what I think a bunch of young folks might do or believe in 20 years. I’d be willing to bet that most of us don’t hold all of the same beliefs we did when we were 20. If this hunch is correct, then one could presume that this new wave of hyper-tolerance will also support other forms of marriage equity, that go way beyond what Dan might consider acceptable. To speculate on this is pointless, to gloat is even sillier. I’d rather live in the real world right now where the actual votes seem to dispute Dan’s wishes.

    However, even if one was to grant the point, it doesn’t address the core issue of right or wrong. So what if the US does a 180 on this issue, just because a potential majority of potential voters might redefine marriage at some point in the future, it doesn’t change the basic position.

  10. Gee what would be better? “Losing” and argument with Dan, or winning elections? I’ll need to spend some time thinking about this.

  11. Marshall Art says:

    “So, is offering reasonable, well-thought-out, moral arguments in support of marriage equity “brainwashing,” but demonizing and falsehoods in opposition to marriage equity is only “good teaching,” Glenn?”

    On it goes. I have yet to hear a reasonable, well-thought-out argument for state licensed homosexual unions. Well-thought-out but dishonest arguments galore, but nothing reasonable. An honest person must suspend all honesty before an argument in favor can begin to sound reasonable.

    Likewise, there can be no moral arguments in favor of something so plainly immoral as homosexual behavior and the unions that take place in which such behavior happens. One must twist meanings and disregard true Scriptural teaching in order to pretend there can be anything “moral” about such relationships.

    On the other hand, there has been no “demonizing” by those defending actual marriage of the kind and vast quantity that has been necessary for the supporters of immorality to appeal to the compassion of those they delude. They cannot gain the numbers they think they have by being perfectly honest. It just isn’t possible. And I wonder what falsehoods these people believe are being told by defenders of real marriage. Falsehoods are unnecessary when so much truth and fact support our position.

  12. Actually most of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of state sanction of “marriage equity” sound a lot like what you hear from kids. To paraphrase “Well, Bobby has marriage equity so I want some too! It’s just not fair!” Maybe that’s reasonable to the left.

  13. John,

    Yep, just like my teenager. Shocking isn’t it.

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