Discredited Anti-Gay Researcher Mark Regnerus Claims Marriage Equality Polls Are Biased

RegnerusIf you happen to be a gay parent or Towleroad reader, you may remember Mark Regnerus, the anti-gay social scientist (and my former professor no less) who published a "flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound" study of gay parenting last year that was widely circulated among 'pro-family' groups.

Now, Regnerus (pictured) has set his discredited sights on same-sex marriage. In an article published Tuesday for the National Review Online, Regnerus made three arguments to support his claim that the apparent growth in the public's support for marriage equality is being inaccurately inflated by flawed methodologies of pollsters:

1. Question "priming"-

"Gallup continues to ask a question about the legality of 'homosexual relations' before it asks about same-sex marriage, a technique known as 'priming'….priming shapes respondents' answers to subsequent questions, particularly where sentiments about a previous question spill over. Gallup asks whether respondents 'think gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal,' a question that most observers would assume is not even asked any more."

2. The "Bradley" effect-

"In 2010 Patrick Egan, assistant professor of politics and public policy at New York University, compiled ten years of polling data about same-sex marriage in states that had voted on same-sex-marriage ballot initiatives. He found that public-opinion consistently underestimated ballot-box opposition to SSM….[When] sensitive issues are at stake, people may feel pressure to give pollsters answers that sound enlightened, politically correct, or free of any trace of 'bigotry' – a term that has reemerged as a club in the debate over same-sex marriage."

3. Question wording-

"Other suspects are the words with which survey questions are constructed. When polling organizations include the term 'rights' in their question – as do Gallup, USA Today, and CNN/ORC – support for same-sex marriage is elevated: Each found 54 to 55 percent in favor. Survey respondents appear to react positively to words like 'rights,' 'freedom,' and 'benefits,' and negatively to words like 'ban.' 

Carlos Maza over at Equality Matters has a great breakdown of each of Regnerus's points, none of which stand up to serious scrutiny. Considering his last major publication on gay issues was deemed 'bullsh*t,' Regnerus may want to tweak his own research methodology before he starts criticizing others'.