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Maggie Gallagher’s Bogus Poll

Timothy Kincaid

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?


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.



a. mcewen
May 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Gallagher should get that Paul Cameron award this site routinely gives.

Richard W. Fitch
May 22nd, 2009 | LINK

To a. mcewen: I strongly disagree. With the many twisted statements Maggie has made in the recent months, it is about time that BTB create a new award specifically targeting blatant anti-gay marriage antagonist like M.G. – something like “The Ghastly Gallagher Award”.

Bill Ware
May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Since Maggie’s poll results rely on a highly biased sample,

“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.”

the results are not worth reporting.

This reminds me of Kinsey’s conclusion that 10% of the population is homosexual. This was unduly influenced by the fact that he included many prison inmates in his survey. These respondents were more likely to report homosexual behavior simply because women were not available due to their confinement.

A biased sample leads to biased results no matter the survey.

a. mcewen
May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

That’s an excellent idea, Richard. But don’t call it ghastly. You know how Gallagher likes to distract from the argument by playing the “I’m unfairly being attacked and called a bigot” card.

May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I propose that the award be called the “Maggie ‘the Hutt’ Gallagher” Award.

May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

While Gallagher will undoubtedly spin the heck out of these results I find them quite encouraging. Using a skewed sample as representative, biasing the heck out of the questions, and asking the questions in an order designed to elicit as negative responses as possible she still can’t get better than a one percent plurality on her side? Go Massachusetts!

David C.
May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

NOM: Nutty Old Maggie.

May 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Nice, David C. How about ‘the NOM award?’ As in The Nutty Ol’ Maggie Award.

May 24th, 2009 | LINK

Great post.

For future reference, the commonly-accepted term for a resident of Massachusetts is “Bay Stater.” It’s easier to type and say. :)

May 24th, 2009 | LINK

As one of them Evil Librul Bay State residents who helped foist this evil upon the United States: proper pollings show about 60% support for gay marriage, if not slightly more.

May 25th, 2009 | LINK

to a. mcewen

no it should be called “The Ghastly Gallagher Award”. i for one am getting sick of people caring about how others are going to spin it. if enough of us are calling the bigots what they are. . . bigots, then others will catch on and hopefully they will go the way of Paul Cameron and only be referenced by Wing Nut Daily.

May 25th, 2009 | LINK

Every time I think I’ve seen it all from the anti-gay Right, Maggie manages to up the ante. I can’t believe that woman can still make me angry, but she somehow manages it.

Emily K
May 25th, 2009 | LINK

Maddie Shmagegliggher, the head of NOME, just released a poll of her own.

Richard W. Fitch
May 25th, 2009 | LINK

Oh!! My!! Emily!! You gone and done it again —- ROFLMAO

May 25th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you Box Turtle Bulletin for helping keep the FACTS correct.

I never realized that people on the religious right would LIE!

The religious people I know are honorable, trustworthy and just good people.

I don’t understand the people that are so anti-gay. They seem so full of hate.

I ask WHY? WHY do you hate me because I’m not like you? I do make a great potato salad. What’s the problem? Do I need an “e” on the end?

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