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08/16/2007

Gay endorsement liability: 'Factor' fiction

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 3-70So have a look at this Aug. 13 exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Fox News Correspondent Kirsten Powers, and then we'll get back to you:

O'REILLY: Now, a new poll says that most Americans won't vote for you if you get an endorsement by a gay rights group. Did you know that?

POWERS: No, I didn't --

O'REILLY: Ah! What is that poll? Pew Research or something like that. But anyway --

POWERS: I find that -- I have to say I find that very difficult to believe. Maybe if they're asked that question in a poll, but most Americans don't have any idea who's endorsing candidates. They are not paying attention to that.

O'REILLY: OK, but say a gay -- the question posed, "If a gay rights --

POWERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: -- organization endorses you, would that make you more or less likely to vote?

POWERS: Right.

O'REILLY: And most Americans said less likely.
(**see the video at Media Matters)

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Okay, so Bill put it out into the ether that a gay-endorsed candidate is going to automatically lose the vote of the majority of Americans. Sounds hurtful to our pro-gay side, right? Sounds to you like our groups are the political cold that none of the candidates want to catch?

Well, this might be damaging, if not for the fact that Bill's words are 100% bullsh*t and his data is pulled straight from his fanny! For you see, dear readers, there is no recent Pew Research Poll that exists on this subject. There is, however, a recent Qunnipiac poll that gauges the thoughts of swing state voters (and only swing state voters) on the subject of gay endorsements. But the findings of that poll were NOT "that most Americans won't vote for you if you get an endorsement by a gay rights group." In fact, the findings were that to the vast majority, these endorsements make no difference:

Quinpoll

And if you tally the "doesn't make a difference" and the "more likely" numbers, it is the "less likely" camp that makes up a very scant minority. And as we mentioned in our last post on this subject, this contingent is likely the sort who is not going to vote for the gay-progressive candidate, HRC-endorsed or not. So Ms. Powers was absolutely right to find this data "very difficult to believe." Mainly because it is as believable as a 12th of Never snipe hunting match between Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and a flying pig, the likes of which takes place on Hell's newly frozen over ice rink!

So Mr. O'Reilly, we look forward to your correcting of the record. We trust you'll be eager to do so.

O'Reilly claimed poll shows most Americans "won't vote" for candidate endorsed by "a gay rights group" [Media Matters]

**UPDATE: Queerty's Andrew Belonsky has now uploaded the clip toYouTube:

**UPDATE2: O'Reilly non-explains and non-apologizes for bad journalism [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

Concerned Women for America is making a similar claim, and are actually citing the Qunnipiac poll you list here. Interestingly, here's what he has to say about it:

"The survey determined that voters were less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the homosexual agenda than one who opposes it by a nearly three-to-one margin."

Technically, this is true. After all, a mere 10% (roughly) would be more likely to support such a candidate, compared to a much larger 30% (again, roughly) who would be less likely to do so. However, it's interesting to note how Barber conveniently neglects to mention the remain 60% or so who wouldn't care either way. After all, that wouldn't support his claims.

As my father is fond of saying, figures don't lie but liars sure figure.

Posted by: Jarred | Aug 16, 2007 2:29:02 PM

Have I totally lost it (as opposed to only slightly losing it)? I can't believe that Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania are representative of the country in general.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Aug 16, 2007 2:30:02 PM

Fear not, Mike, you've lost nothing. The Qunnipiac poll is solely confined to these three states.

Oh, and Jared: Yes, we've seen lots of people on both sides primarily looking at only the "more likely" and the "less likely" numbers, when it would certainly seem that the "doesn't matter" number is the truly interesting one. And it can't be stated enough: The "less likely" percentage is most certainly the kind of voter who is NEVER going to support a progressive candidate under any circumstances.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 16, 2007 2:35:52 PM

You're certainly right about that, Mike. But then, personally, I'd like to think that most people in other states would be more progressive than the folks in PA at least. Of course, that could be my own bias from having grown up there showing. ;)

Posted by: Jarred | Aug 16, 2007 2:38:00 PM

Keith Olbermann had it on his show tonight for the hoax that it is. The truth is that in the poll 58% said it wouldn't make any difference to them. Olbermann wondered if O'Reilly's problem really wasn't with the math!

In addition, BillO got both the silver and the gold for "Worst Person in the World" from Olbermann tonight. There is no one who deserves it more...

Posted by: mike/ | Aug 16, 2007 10:15:51 PM

Bill O'Reilly should change his name to Bill O'Liary, since Liaring is what he does so well. Bill's just doin' what comes naturally.

Posted by: Charles Prentiss | Aug 19, 2007 12:13:31 AM

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