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02/26/2015

FRC's ridiculously bunk new poll (*from partisan polling firm)

by Jeremy Hooper

The Family Research Council is going around pushing the following stat, so much so that they have made several memes and even created a microsite to host the associated polling:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 At 7.44.12 Pm

Only thing? The stat is meaningless. And deeply deceptive. It's false witness, actually. Here's why.

First, we have to note that the polling firm is a noted right-wing outlet. FRC commissioned this poll through Wilson Perkins Allen, one of the big Republican polling shops out there. Which isn't surprising, since FRC is nothing if not a partisan special interest group masquerading as a faith outfit. But if you're going to present supposedly unbiased data that is supposed to sway a supposedly unbiased Supreme Court, it's probably best if that data doesn't come from a company associated with the party that is infinitely more likely to oppose marriage equality, as commissioned by a group so anti-gay that the Southern Poverty Law Center shortlists them as an active hate group.

But even if the results are not skewed because of partisan bias, the question itself is insanely worded. Check it out:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 At 7.43.01 Pm

Honestly, I would be likely to answer yes to a question like that! Who wouldn't? I certainly want government to leave me free to follow my beliefs about my marriage (the same government, incidentally, that FRC insists must *ban* my marriage; but I digress). Even I, someone who knows all about the far-right's attempt to undermine marriage equality by playing this supposed "religious freedom" game (i.e. an actual license-to-discriminate game), would answer this question in the affirmative if I didn't know the organization and the political game behind it.

And that's me, a hyperaware person. The majority of the public isn't hyperaware of LGBT issues. The vast majority of the public doesn't know anything about Melissa Klein or Baronelle Stutzman or any of these people who the far-right portrays at victims because they were unable to discriminate against gay couples the way they wanted to do. So no, it doesn't surprise me even a little bit to hear that a majority (even if it's a majority from a Republican-driven polling firm) answered this clumsily worded question (notice the main focus is on simply living lives, not conducting business) in the way that they apparently did. The Average Jane or Joe would have no reason to say, "No, I insist that the government interfere with people living their daily lives!" It's absurd to think they would.

If the question FRC really wants (or doesn't want) answered were portrayed in the way that it should be portrayed, it would instead read:

“Would you say you agree or disagree with the following statement? Business owners and all proprietors of public accommodations have a right to ignore whatever fairly enacted nondiscrimination laws they want simply because they are personally opposed to the minority group protected by them?”

That is the actual heart of the matter. Why wasn't asked this way? Well, return to the beginning of this post and remember the party alignment of the polling company.

FRC does agree with my question, at least as it applies to LGBT customers. The American people does not. That's why FRC and its likeminded allies have to dupe them into believing they do. How dirty.

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