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04/19/2007


Hillary Clinton Feels The Love, Crushes Christie And Cruz In New VA Poll

Clinton christie


Clinton cruz

Although no major candidates have confirmed a 2016 run for President, speculation has been brewing around several possibilities. Chief among them are former senator-turned-candidate-turned-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey who spoke out harshly against this summer's SCOTUS rulings, and Ted Cruz, a Texas senator who fears gay marriage will infringe on religious liberty. While the possibilities remain endless for now, a new poll out of Virginia indicates that early numbers for LGBT-supporter Clinton are on the rise.

Reveals a new Quinnipiac poll

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to be the apple of Virginia voters' eyes, leading New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 46 - 37 percent, compared to 45 - 40 percent when Quinnipiac University asked that question in July. Christie continues to lead Vice President Joseph Biden, 44 - 37 percent today compared to 46 - 38 percent last month. Clinton crushes Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 53 - 34 percent. Biden tops Cruz 47 - 37 percent. Virginia voters give President Barack Obama a split 48 - 48 percent job approval rating, compared to a negative 46 - 51 percent score last month.

Will Clinton announce her presidential campaign in the coming months, or will Virginia voters be sorely disappointed? Early speculation can be futile, but it is hard to argue with numbers like these. If she runs Clinton could see the Virginia blue streak continue. 

Images via Quinnipiac press release.


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'. 


Americans Would Legalize Marriage Equality Nationwide--If They Could

In a new Gallup opinion poll of Americans released this week, a majority of Americans--52 percent, in fact, say they would vote in favor of a federal law legalizing marriage equality in all 50 states.  Forty-three percent said they would vote against the law.

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 5.34.11 PMOf course, that's never going to happen--because that's not how marriage law works in the U.S.  From the early founding of the country, it's fallen to individual states, rather than the federal government, to decide who can and cannot be married and to issue marriage licenses recognizing such unions.  Hence the reason that one of the significant arguments against the Defense of Marriage Law (and one that was cited by the Supreme Court in its decision striking down the 1996 law) was that it intruded improperly on an issue traditionally reserved for state control.

Nevertheless, the new Gallup poll results are important to note, especially the breakdown of support amongst different demographic groups.  At the top end, groups such as liberals, those who express no religious affiliation and Democrats supported marriage equality overwhelmingly, with respondents showing 77, 76 and 70 percent support, respectively.  Other groups with strong support for equal marriage rights nationwide were 18 to 34 year-olds (69 percent) and moderates (63 percent), as well as respondents in the West and East.


Indepdents, those who attended church at least once a month and respondents in the Midwest demonstrated slim majority support for the hypothetical federal marriage equality law, with margins in the low 50s.

In fact, there were only a few groups for which majorities don't support equal marriage rights, and none of them were surprising.  A slight plurality of men support marriage equality, albeit at only 48 percent to 46 percent opposition.  Majority opposition to marriage equality was found amongst only six demographic groups: respondents in the South, those 55 and older, Protestants, Republicans, Conservatives and those who attend church weekly (who came in at a whopping 73 percent opposed).

Marriage Equality PollGallup also found limited evidence for a shift in Americans' opinions towards marriage rights for same-sex couples since the Supreme Court's decision striking down DOMA in June: 53 percent of respondents said in May that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, while 54 percent expressed that view in the new survey.  

Clearly, all signs on marriage equality are pointing in one direction--earlier this year, Gallup released another poll showing a majority of Americans favors allowing same-sex couples to marry.  Perhaps even more importantly, that survey found the largest gap ever measured between those who think being gay is something people are born with and those who think it is affected by factors such as one's upbringing.  Even in the wake of the Supreme Court's historic consideration of same-sex couples' right to marry--and the sharp upswing in media attention on marriage equality--most Americans seem to know where they stand on the issue--at least for the present moment.


Poll: 80% Of Adults In U.S. Struggle With Poverty

Poverty-Rate
The data comes via a poll released by the Associated Press over the weekend, which points to "the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend."

The economic indicator, officially dubbed "economic insecurity", defines the criteria as those adults who have experienced unemployment at any point during their careers, spent a year or more relying on government assistance such as food stamps, or having an income at least 150% below the poverty line. According to Huffington Post, "measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent." The study also marked a closing of gaps between whites and nonwhites with regard to poverty rates when compared to census data from the 1970s. It also showed:

"Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones."

The study also remarks on the creation of "the invisible poor", which is a term used to describe those living in suburbs or rural towns who fall into the category of experiencing "economic insecurity".

"Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America's heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains."

Help_graffitiThese invisible poor, who, more often than not, tend to be white, are less likely to be targeted by programs seeking to aid other impoverished groups in other, more urban areas. This could be one of the contributing factors to why racial gaps are closing. Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Huffington Post:

"Poverty is no longer an issue of `them', it's an issue of `us'...Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."

Other noteworthy findings include:

  • "For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million."
  • "Since 2000, the poverty rate among working-class whites has grown faster than among working-class nonwhites, rising 3 percentage points to 11 percent as the recession took a bigger toll among lower-wage workers. Still, poverty among working-class nonwhites remains higher, at 23 percent."
  • "The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods – those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more – has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teenage pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, compared with 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining."
  • "The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children went from 38 percent to 39 percent."
  • "Race disparities in health and education have narrowed generally since the 1960s. While residential segregation remains high, a typical black person now lives in a nonmajority black neighborhood for the first time. Previous studies have shown that wealth is a greater predictor of standardized test scores than race; the test-score gap between rich and low-income students is now nearly double the gap between blacks and whites."

Thus, while the economy has reportedly finished its recession from late last decade, it does not appear to be growing fast enough to sustain the record 46.2 million people reportedly living in poverty. 


Poll: 50 Percent of Virginia Voters Support Same-Sex Marriage

A new Quinnipiac poll is out and reveals that 50 percent of Virginians support same-sex marriage and 43 percent oppose it.

Ken_cuccinelliAs far as the governor's race goes, Quinnipiac reports:

A yawning gender gap in the Virginia governor's race leaves Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a slight 43 - 39 percent lead over Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

"Democrat Terry McAuliffe is ahead by a nose in this tight race, but half the electorate doesn't know enough about him to decide whether they view him favorably or unfavorably. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is somewhat better known with only a third of voters having no opinion about him," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Some breakdown of the numbers on marriage, via the AP:

Women who responded to the survey backed gay marriage 55 percent to 39 percent, but men opposed it 49 percent to 43 percent. Sixty-eight percent of self-identified Democrats supported gay marriage and 26 percent opposed it. Republican respondents opposed it by the same ratio.

Sixty percent of those with college degrees supported same-sex marriage and 34 percent of college grads opposed it. Among those with no college degree, 49 percent opposed it and 45 percent supported it. Catholics favored gay marriage 56 percent to 40 percent, while Protestants opposed it 57 percent to 36 percent. Among those who identified themselves as born-again evangelicals, 74 percent opposed it.

A majority of whites surveyed, 51 percent, supported gay marriage while black respondents opposed it 48 percent to 42 percent. Among voters age 18 to 29, 74 percent backed same-sex marriage, and 52 percent of those age 30 to 44 favor it. But among those 45 and older, majorities opposed it.

In the 2006 election, an amendment to Virginia's Constitution banning gay marriage passed 57 percent to 43 percent.


Majority of Arkansans Support Employment Non-Discrimination, Anti-Bullying Laws

At a news conference this week, Grant Tennille the head of Arkansas’ economic development agency and Chad Griffin director of the Human Rights Campaign implored Arkansas to lead on LGBT issues in the south:

Arkansas(Tennille) said Arkansas, to both attract jobs and keep the state's intellectual capital from leaving, must create an atmosphere of equality. "It's an incredibly simple concept," Tennille said. Arkansas needs to be a place where all are welcome."

Tennille added that he didn't think he'd change Gov. Mike Beebe's mind on his opposition to marriage equality. Beebe at least allows Tennille to speak freely. Indeed, Beebe said later that Tennille was entitled to his opinion but his belief that marriage should only apply to a man and woman hadn't changed.

Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, who introduced the speakers, said it was time to let those in the LGBT community know "that we stand with them as allies," and Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said he would urge "all Arkansans to go out and change hearts and minds." UALR student Ty Stacey talked about coming out to her family at age 18 and how difficult it was but that she was helped by role models like former state Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock, the only open gay lawmaker to serve in the legislature. Other speakers were James Rector, head of the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, which has worked with students to fight bullying, and Ruth Shepherd, director of Just Communities of Arkansas, who pledged JCA's support in efforts to bring about change.

A poll of 600 Arkansas adults conducted late last month offers a few encouraging statistics from the state:

· 61 percent of Arkansans under age 30 support marriage equality, and 63 support legislation that would ensure no one could be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity...

· 90 percent of people of faith in Arkansas agree that the Golden Rule — treating others as we ourselves would wish to be treated — extends to LGBT people.

· Nearly 70 percent of Arkansans support anti-bullying laws against LGBT youth.

· 64 percent of Arkansans believe it does more harm than good when a religious leader condemns LGBT people.

Late last month, Arkansans for Equality submitted a constitutional amendment to the state attorney general seeking to repeal the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If approved, the group will need to collect 78,133 registered voters' signatures to get the amendment on the 2014 ballot.


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