Friday, November 05, 2004

A random thought

Six out of ten Americans support some sort of legal recognition for gay couples. 62% of Ohioans, 60% of Michiganders, and 66% of Utahns voted to ban recognition of all gay relationships, even civil unions - and all the civil-union-banning measures passed by similar margins.

Which raises the question: where are these six in ten Americans when you need them?

(On a similar front, props to Wilmington, NC, who elected North Carolina's first openly gay state legislator, Democrat Julia Boseman. This from a conservative district that last elected Patrick Ballantine, Easley's challenger.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

> where are these six in ten Americans when you need them?

Well, the obvious answer would seem to be "not in Ohio, Michigan, and least of all Utah".

Or, more accurately, one could say that these election results mean that six out of ten Americans oppose legal recognition for gay couples. In reality, I think both are false because both probably represent some form of cherry-picking among respondants.

If all you survey is CA, MA, and NYC, then you're going to get one answer. If all you survey is MI, OH, and UT, you're going to get a very different answer. If you poll an even geographic distribution, you're going to overrepresent rural areas. If you only call land lines, you're going to underrepresent young people who only use a cell phone. And perhaps most importantly, if you ask a thousand people their opinion, you're underrepresenting the other 294,688,571 people in this country.

I know that these types of things are why we define margin of error, but in all honesty the other variables in any survey (corruption, cherry-picking, asking the wrong questions of the wrong people) seem to usually supercede our official and scientific-sounding statistical methods.

Topically? This country isn't ready for gay marriage yet, as much as I hate to admit it. Of course, that doesn't mean freedom-loving individuals should stop pushing for it, because there was a time when this country wasn't ready for women wearing pants, or desegregation, or rock and roll. Whether the Democratic party will be able to hold onto it as a party-line topic (and still remain relevant) remains to be seen, but what the Jerry Falwells of the world don't realize is that it's much harder to rewind social change than it is to accept it and move forward. We'll get there, but it's going to have to be a long-haul kind of thing.

- Pierce