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10/24/2008

Rock the vote, AFA style

by Jeremy Hooper

The Denver Post recently ran an article on Focus on the Family's Love Won Out , and the "ex-gay" movement in general. As part of said article, the paper ran an online poll asking readers if they believe gays can "change." And according to an email sent around by the anti-gay American Family Association, that poll went pretty much the way we would expect it to:

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Well here's where it gets kooky. Since the AFA email started making the rounds, the numbers have changed drastically:

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Clearly this is a direct response to the AFA's letter. But while that "pro-family" poll rocking is annoying, that's not the really kooky part. The kooky part is that the AFA has used this poll as a way of collecting their own "evidence," creating their own in-house poll asking readers the same question. Here's what they say in the full email:

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And then when you got to the AFA's poll, this is what greets you

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Yes, that's right -- you have to give your personal information before you can vote. And if history is any guide, they will then use this information to add you to their email lists and count you as an AFA "supporter." But regardless of what they do with the data, clearly this information collection is going to dissuade pro-gay people from taking the poll, leaving it to only the AFA acolytes. Which is exactly what their results already indicate:

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So let's recap. The Denver Post had a straightforward poll on the subject with no coordinated push for votes, and it showed that 3/4 of the population resists the idea of "gay change." The AFA, unhappy with that fact, rocked the vote so that it swung closer (but not quite) in their favor. And then, as if would prove ANYTHING, they have launched their own poll by using a sample set consisting of people who have (a) signed up for their e-lists, or (b) have chosen to visit their site? And in order to take the poll, you have to give your personal information?! And yet the call The Denver Post "biased"!?!?

Now, we're of course not surprised that the AFA would be so petty, skewed, deceptive, or willing to misrepresent actuality by exalting the mindsets of their own followers. Hell, we hear such are the first four requirements detailed in the organization's employment manual! We are, however, fed up with these underhanded tactics. They KNOW that public opinion is not on their side in terms of "queer conversion," so to get a playing field that more closely fits their desired outcome, they have no choice but to (a) skew straightforward survey results or (b) poll their own peeps. In this case they opted for a double whammy.

*Denver Post article: Focus on the Family focuses on homosexuals [Denver Post]

*AFA email: AFA counters Denver Post poll on homosexuality [AFA Action Alert]

*AFA's subsequent poll: Can homosexual tendencies be diminished through counseling? [AFA]

**UPDATE, 10/25: The Denver Post poll numbers have now completely flipped. Because of the AFA influx, it now shows 65+% support for gay "change," a figure that is WILDLY out of step with popular opinion on this matter.

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Your thoughts

"The Denver Post had a straight forward poll on the subject with no coordinated push for votes, and it showed that 3/4 of the population resists the idea of "gay change." The AFA, unhappy with that fact, rocked the vote so that it swung closer (but not quite) in their favor. And then, as if would prove ANYTHING, they have launched their own poll by using a sample set consisting of people who have (a) signed up for their e-lists, or (b) have chosen to visit their site? "

I'm on the mailing list for a number of these organizations including the AFA, for a number of reasons. And one of them is that they send me notifications every time they pull a stunt like this.

Posted on the newspaper's Comments section yesterday and mentioned that AFA had "skewed" the poll. That apparently rattled at least one cage, as the person took the time and trouble to send me a message indignantly denying that any such thing could be a factor.

Posted by: Bobs Friend | Oct 25, 2008 2:19:00 PM

Bobs Friend: Are you saying that the AFA sent out an email denying that they have rocked the Denver Post poll? Because if so, that's a BLATANT lie. The DP poll now indicates 65% of their readership support gay therapy, where it had, before the AFA's efforts, shown 75% opposition. Clearly the AFA supporters are what led to this drastic change.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 25, 2008 2:41:29 PM

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