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10/18/2012

Anti-equality voices continue to tout Bradley Effect as if it's a good thing

by Jeremy Hooper

Of a new poll in Minnesota that shows the marriage amendment fight at what's basically an even split (47% for discrimination, 46% opposed; 7% undecided), the so-called Minnesota For Marriage coalition writes this:

KSTP also reported on a new study of 167 polls in 30 states showing that the lead could be closer to 7% because of a pattern of voters giving pollsters what they believe to be a politically correct response by saying they oppose, rather than support, the amendment. Other pollsters agree. Recently, the Director of Public Policy Polling said that he does not “believe polls showing majority support for gay marriage” because “any time there is a vote, it doesn’t back it up.”

“We aren’t relying on speculation,” said Helmberger. “We are certain that the combination of our TV ads, the surge we are seeing in churches, and the sacrificial hard work of our grassroots network will finish the job and preserve marriage as between one man and one woman in our constitution where judges and politicians can’t meddle with it.”
[SOURCE]

I've speculated on this phenomenon before, but I think it bears repeating in this election cycle. I really think those in the state anti-equality campaigns who keep touting this meme about voters being more discriminatory behind closed doors than they are in public need to remember that the Bradley Effect is *NOT A GOOD THING*!

If people are saying they are going to support their LGBT friends and neighbors in public, then that means, by and large, that they know in their hearts that standing up against unfair treatment is the right thing to do. If these same people then turn around and cast a different vote when they know they can "get away with it," then that speaks to prejudice, not principle. With the person for whom the effect was named, this public-private dance applied to race, while the one that Minnesota For Marriage is touting applies to sexual orientation. But it's implications are cynical and disturbing in both instances. The Bradley Effect is not some proud political wisdom to tout, even if it holds a degree of truth. It's a hurtful reminder, not a hopeful goal on which to hang your electoral hat.

Considering the frequency with which I see the other side's campaign heads pushing this meme, I know that what I am saying is lost on them. It won't, however, be lost on history.

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