Does a majority of the country really support gay marriage?The other day I gave another reason why the polls can't be entirely trusted on this issue:
As is often true in polling, it depends on how you ask the question.
A Gallup poll last week showed that 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, but a CBS News/New York Times poll out today shows that only 38 percent support it.
The difference: Gallup gave voters just two options — support or oppose — while the CBS/NYT poll added a third, civil unions.
When given that third choice, polls show that it draws significantly from both the pro-gay marriage and anti-gay marriage camps, but in the end, overall support for gay marriage drops well below a majority.
Mostly, though, it just shows how mushy the middle is on this issue. While there are certainly passionate supporters and opponents, there are just as many people who are lukewarm (as evidenced by a Gallup poll last week). And their responses are highly dependent on how the question is asked.
Gallup says 51% now support gay marriage, but that certainly doesn't jive with the fact that gay marriage loses big every time it's on the ballot. It's lost in 32 of 32 state races. It's on the ballot again in Minnesota and it will be close, but then it's so cold up there those people will huddle with anything warm.And I'm not the only one that thinks that. Here's what veteran Fox newsman Brit Hume had to say on the issue:
Why the discrepancy between the polling and the actual elections? People lie to pollsters. They don't want the pollsters to think their bigots or homophobes so even though they don't support gay marriage some people will tell them they do just to be on the politically correct side. It's a weakness - people want to be liked. When the curtain closes in the voting booth, though, things change. If we could get the real polling numbers on gay marriage I'm guessing it would still lose by 10-15 points.
I just think that there is a reason to distrust the national polling that is being done on this.Great minds.
You look at it and it looks like a majority of the public now supports gay marriage, but you look what’s happening state-by-state and you’re getting an entirely different picture. I think what people say to pollsters may differ – you know, this issue has emerged as a kind of civil rights issue. This is a country in which you do not want to be seen as kind of standing athwart the advance of civil rights. So you may tell a pollster one thing, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you’re going to vote. I don’t think that means this apparent support for this means that’s how people are going to vote.
The media and activists will try and convince us that gay marriage now has majority support and therefore Obama's newly "evolved" stand just reflects mainstream America. It's doesn't. Just watch.