By ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum
A few days after ADF posted a memo on the Internet about the methodology behind our recent scientific marriage survey, I came across an article about it on a niche website that caters to a leftist point of view. Sometimes our critics are very clever about how they present their position, but this article, on the other hand, is amazingly embarrassing by anyone’s standards.
The article reported that “ADF didn’t disclose the poll’s methodology” and that a blogger found an ADF “internal memo” that demonstrated we had “intentionally skewed” the results of our comprehensive marriage research. The intrigue continued as this memo between ADF and Public Opinion Strategies supposedly revealed that we “purposely” excluded bloggers, political campaign volunteers, and members of the media from the poll in an effort to reach a predetermined conclusion. Wow, that sounds bad. And how did this smoking gun of a memo get into the wrong hands?
Well, it turns out that ADF intentionally published the not-so-secret memo on the ADF website for all to see. The article clearly leads readers to believe otherwise, never mentioning this fact but instead simply linking to the website of a third-party blogger who admits he obtained the memo “tucked away on ADF’s site.” (That “tucked away” place would be the primary ADF web page for the media.)
In reality, what the article describes as “intentionally skewing” the poll results happens to be well-established methodology that pollsters routinely use to obtain the most accurate results—namely, screening out members of the media, people who spend all their time posting comments on blogs, and the like. Including such persons could have slightly skewed the results either for marriage or against marriage when all we really wanted to know is what the average American objectively thinks about the subject, no matter what the result.
Ironically, by criticizing this accepted methodology, the article tacitly admitted that, had the survey included such people, it would have skewed the results to the leftist’s point of view—meaning that the article concedes that many members of the media, bloggers, etc. are out of the mainstream in their advocacy of the homosexual agenda.
And if we’re going to talk about bias, why just take ADF to task? After all, Public Opinion Strategies, the company that conducted the ADF survey, has conducted polls and research for NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and others. Are they going to blast those outlets as well?
The best way to test the findings of the ADF/POS comprehensive marriage survey is to see if the results match what is already a cold, hard fact: When virtually the same question has been presented to voters on ballots in 30 different states over whether to approve constitutional amendments protecting marriage, the integrity of marriage has been affirmed every time—by an average of 63 percent. Compare that number to the 62 percent of Americans who affirmed marriage in the ADF/POS survey. The proof is in the pudding.
So what of other polls that have supposedly found differently? As I mentioned, the ADF survey asked virtually the same question that has appeared on voters’ ballots nationwide, namely should marriage “be defined as ONLY a union between one man and one woman”? Other polls have not done this. Instead, their results stem from how they have posed their questions, namely whether the person being surveyed favors or opposes amending the state constitution to “ban same-sex marriage” or whether it should be “legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married.” Those questions will, of course, garner different results because of how they are phrased: they do not match what has happened at the ballot box because they do not accurately convey how Americans feel about the definition of marriage itself.
Of course, the misleading article referred to above doesn’t really care about that, nor does it accuse these other polls of being “skewed.” Its only apparent interest is in creating a scandal…regardless of whether it is true.
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