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Is Indiana GOP Pushing A 12 Month Old Same-Sex Marriage Poll As ‘New’? (Updated)

by David Badash on January 15, 2014

in Marriage,News,Politics

Post image for Is Indiana GOP Pushing A 12 Month Old Same-Sex Marriage Poll As ‘New’? (Updated)

“Indiana Republican lawmakers say they have new poll results that show strong support for a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage,” according to an article published by WTHR, an NBC affiliate that seems to have not looked at the data in the poll. “In a poll of 800 registered voters conducted in January 2014, 53 percent of voters supported the amendment,” WTHR writes.

The Indiana GOP is trying to pass a law that would allow voters to decide whether or not they want to add an amendment to their constitution banning same-sex marriage — despite the fact that courts repeatedly are overturning these bans as unconstitutional, as happened in Oklahoma just yesterday.

The poll document, as published (PDF), seems exceptionally misleading.

First, those “800 registered voters,” according to the poll, published by Chesapeake Beach Consulting (which does not appear to even have a website) may be only registered Republican voters. There may or may not have been Democrats or even Independents in the poll, as the document states that the “representative random sample was designed based on the number of registered voters on the voter file maintained by the Indiana Republican Party.”

Second, The New Civil Rights Movement finds that the document states that the “fieldwork was conducted from January 6 through January 9, 2013…”

Yes, it says January 2013 — not, as the cover of the document states, 2014.

We’re assuming that “fieldwork” means the actual asking of questions.

So, it would appear — and it’s certainly possible, albeit improbable, given pollsters are or should be exceptionally accurate — that the poll is a year old.

But given that WTHR reports that the “numbers are a change from a September 2013 poll conducted by Freedom Indiana, a group working to defeat the amendment, which found just 34 percent in favor of changing Indiana’s constitution,” it would seem unlikely.

Much has changed in the past 12 months.

The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA. More than half-a-dozen states extended marriage to same-sex couples in 2013.

Twelve months in the same-sex marriage battle is a long, long time.

And support is increasing dramatically fast.

But, for arguments sake, let’s for a moment pretend this poll is not from 2013 but from 2014. And let’s pretend it’s an accurate sampling of registered Republican, Independent, and Democratic voters.

It doesn’t matter.

“Majority rule” is not a valid means to determine civil rights. The law is. Marriage should never be put to a vote.

Below is the poll, via WTHR, and another link to a SlideShare version.

Indiana GOP Same-Sex Marriage Poll

UPDATE: 10:30 PM ET –
The New Civil Rights Movement contacted WTHR to point out the issue with the dates and to question if the poll included Democrats and independents. Their response – disappointing from a journalism standpoint – was that the GOP told them the poll was conducted in 2014, so it must be.
As a journalist, I found that response unacceptable, and I emailed the pollster directly.
Bob Carpenter, the pollster, offered this response to The New Civil Rights Movement via email minutes ago:

“The date on the methodology page is a typo. The poll was conducted from January 6 through January 9, 2014. The data is not a year old as you suggest, but less than a week old. And, to you [sic] point about who was actually polled, this random sample survey is a poll that was conducted among a representative sample of Indiana voters, which includes Republicans, Democrats and Independents.”

Image via Instagram

Previously:

Photos: Hundreds Rally To Oppose Indiana Anti-Gay Bill

Breaking: Indiana Committee Delays Vote On Same-Sex Marriage Ban

On Our Radar – Indiana State Republicans Have No License To Bully

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{ 5 comments }

lzambeni January 16, 2014 at 6:17 am

I was just looking at the poll which is by "Chesapeake Beach Consulting" – never heard of them. Who the heck are they?! I can't find anything about them except one mention that they do polling for Republicans. They don't even have a freaking website! Only an email address! Seems like a highly suspect polling group. Importantly, the poll says only 20% of calls were to cell phones. So it is obviously skewed to land lines – 80% – which are more likely used by elderly subjects who are overwhelmingly against marriage equality. So this poll seems biased to me. I'm sure Nate Silver would have something to say about it and this polling firm! http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com...

StanJames January 20, 2014 at 4:43 am

just another mythical group IMO. republican party leadership is sold to its biggest voting block -t he former confederate ssates

If you think that religious based hatred is gone in america you are sadly mistaken.

lzambeni January 16, 2014 at 6:54 am

Some other faults of this poll which make it's claims dubious in addition to the heavy bias caused to calling landlines (80%) over cell phones (20%):
1) On pg 33 it breaks down the numbers by cities polled. It entirely leaves out BLOOMINGTON, home of Indiana University, which is a major Democratic stronghold with a large, young, educated, liberal constituency! Gee, I wonder how that could bias the poll??!!
2) On page 34 the table shows that Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Moderates were polled. However, nowhere on that page, or any other page, does it break down the number of these voters polled by party. So the sample could be skewed to Republican voters and no one would be the wiser! Personally, I do not trust the source of this polling group's sample: "the sample was designed based on the number of registered voters on the voter file maintained by the Indiana REPUBLICAN PARTY" (pg 4) Is the "voter file" of the Indiana Republican Party an up-to-date and accurate representation of all voters in Indiana?
3) On page 4, it states the poll is registered voters and not "likely registered voters".
4) On page 4 it says the margin of error for the total sample is +/-3.5%. But to "Please note the margin of error for subsets is significantly higher". What does that mean? And nowhere in the poll are these subsets and their actual margins of error delineated.

JayJonson January 16, 2014 at 10:09 am

Good. Let them fall into the same trap that Minnesota Republicans fell into. They thought they would use the marriage ban as a wedge issue to get out the conservative base. It may indeed have gotten out the conservative base, but it also got out the Democratic base, which not only defeated the marriage ban but also elected strong Democratic majorities who quickly enacted marriage equality. I hope the Indiana ban also boomerangs on the Republicans. And even if it does not, the federal courts will soon strike any ban down.

lzambeni January 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Today, the WTHR article linked to in this article has been "updated" and they provided a link for the poll. The poll has CHANGED since yesterday's version. The new version is in color rather than B&W – a mere cosmetic change. However, more critically, there were also 2 pages removed! If you compare the new color version WTHR has provided today with the the original B&W version in Scribd and Slideshare uploads above, you'll see pages 33 and 34 that were in the original poll version have now been removed. Page 33 had the poll broken down by city – leaving out Bloomington – with its major Democratic demographic. Page 34 had a table showing that 4 categories of voters were polled: Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Moderates. As i said yesterday, nowhere on that page, or any other page, did it break down the number of these voters polled by party. So the sample could've been skewed to Republican voters and no one would be the wiser! Additionally, i didn't trust the source of this polling group's sample: "the sample was designed based on the number of registered voters on the voter file maintained by the Indiana REPUBLICAN PARTY" (pg 4) Is the "voter file" of the Indiana Republican Party an up-to-date and accurate representation of all voters in Indiana? However, the updated WTHR article DOES list percentages by party (33% Republican, 27% Democrat, 34% Independent) but those percentages are nowhere documented in the new version or the old version of the poll. More importantly, these percentages, if true, show THEY ARE POLLING 6% MORE REPUBLICANS THAN DEMOCRATS! Thus skewing the poll to the results the Republicans want to promote to the public! In addition, the old version of the poll, as I noted above, included 4 CATEGORIES OF VOTERS POLLED – Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Moderates – NOT 3! What happened to the "Moderates" category which was listed in the original B&W poll from yesterday?!! This is very fishy, IMO. Why doesn't WTHR make note of these changes in their "update"?! Why don't they post the original version of this poll so everyone can compare them and see that this critical information has been left out of the new version?!

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