Maggie Gallagher’s Bogus Poll
May 22nd, 2009
By now, none of us really expect that anything coming from Maggie Gallagher or her National Organization for Marriage is the truth. But sometimes her utter contempt for the truth is so blatant as to be astonishing.
Take, for example, her 2009 NOM Massachusetts Marriage Survey.
Now, of course, this is not really a poll that is seeking to determine attitudes about marriage in Massachusetts. Rather, this is simply her attempt to try and come up with an artificial opposition to marriage equality and to try and convince the public that marriage has hurt Massachusetts.
But even for a push poll, this is laughable.
First, her sample is as far from representative as you can get. While about 60% of Massachusans are between the age of 18 and 50, this is only 20% of Maggie’s sample. And while those over 75 make up about 9% of the population, they are 24% of her survey. What did Maggie poll, retirement communities?
And though only about 31% of Massachusans attend church “almost weekly”, about 47% of Maggie’s group does.
Then look at the claims she makes in a press release:
Do Children Need a Mom and Dad? Majority Say Yes
But what did the survey really ask?
13. Here’s one more statement: “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and a father?” Do you agree or disagree with that statement?
Well who would disagree with that? Not me – not the way it’s phrased. So it’s hardly a surprise that 76% agreed.
But do I think “children need a Mom and Dad”? Nope.
Maggie goes on pretending that her findings suggest that “Massachusetts voters remain sharply divided about gay marriage”. They don’t.
Afraid to ask whether marriage should remain legal in the state, Maggie tried to appeal to personal dislike of gays or personal discomfort with gay marriage. But even then she failed. 43% of respondents were generally personally favorable and another 14% couldn’t care less.
9. Do you personally favor or oppose same-sex marriage generally?
14% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
Maggie goes on to try and spin her survey results to support her cause using percentages of percentages, but in the process provides us with some interesting information about the attitudes of Massachusetts voters.
- 44% think that opposing gay marriage is discrimination comparable to racial discrimination. And while
- 16% think that “people may try to hurt you” if you are an anti-gay-marriage activist, only
- 7% know someone who “feels they were harassed or intimidated” because of their anti-gay marriage beliefs
(Maggie calls this “a surprisingly substantial minority of voters”)
But getting around Maggie’s loaded questions and her contorted analysis, a picture emerges of the Massachusetts voter.
About half are personally supportive of marriage equality while the rest seem fairly content. Most support the right of dissenters to disagree and only a tiny fringe think that their views are being suppressed. They aren’t worried about whether their kids (or grandkids) are being taught about same-sex couples in school. And they tend to think that anti-marriage activists are distasteful, if not downright bigots, and acknowledge that the state has broad social support for the institution. And these are the opinions of the old religious folk.
In short, the sky hasn’t fallen. The citizens aren’t upset. Massachusetts has now seen that marriage equality is a good thing.