Very few of you will be shocked to hear that polling companies are, in many cases, partisan. That's why it's not surprising when a right-leaning operation like Rasmussen Reports claims someone like Mitt Romney will trounce Barack Obama, or when a "centrist" third way group like the Democratic Leadership Council finds that Bill Clinton is more popular than George W. Bush. Alright, maybe that latter one is a weak example, but you get the idea. You know how such polls are: often worthless.
But these these policy-aligned results come not only from a potential agenda, but from the people they poll. The voters in their database are often already on the side with the polling place in question. But that's not to say partisan polls can't serve a purpose.
They become useful, and even welcome, when their results go against their ideological grain, such as the latest findings from the Christian polling group Lifeway Research. They're showing that only 37% of their survey participants believe that homosexuality is a sin. That is down seven points from their last report, released only a few months ago, in September.
These numbers reflect other polls, such as Gallup's very promising finding this year that 54% of Americans, the highest ever, believe same-sex love is morally acceptable. Gallup's conclusion: LGBT acceptance is "the new normal".
While religious conservatives claim these numbers, and other matters also fought over in the culture wars, like birth rate declines or the fact that straight women are waiting longer to get married, point to some moral failure. But this Lifeway Research shows that those people are increasingly in the minority.
While the people most likely to call homosexuality a sin attend church once a week or define themselves as "Evangelical," it's clear that even religious Americans are joining Newt Gingrich and facing reality. Perhaps the most virulent on right will one day realize that this attitudinal shift isn't a decline in morals; rather, it's proof that Western society, for over a century lied to and taught that sex is bad and something that should exist only within specific parameters, is finally an overcoming sexual oppressive culture and realizing that all consenting adults have the right to live and love as they please, outside judgement like projected sins be damned.
[Image via San Francisco Citizen.]