Don’t Poll, Don’t Tell

Maybe you caught some coverage of a  poll commissioned by (News for Republicans, by Republicans) showing that 67 percent of Iowans surveyed want a statewide vote on what the survey calls a “traditional marriage amendment.”

The poll of 500 people, which also included a long list of questions about Gov. Culver, the 2010 campaign etc.,  was taken earlier this month.

But why only ask this:

Question: The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled gay marriages can legally be conducted in the state. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, do you think Iowa voters should have the chance to vote on a traditional marriage amendment to the constitution or is the issue best decided by the Supreme Court?

…when you could have also asked something like this:

“Do you support or oppose adding an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would end the legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Iowa?” 

TheIowaRepublican’s editor Craig Robinson explained in an e-mail:

The issue at hand is whether or not people are allowed the opportunity to vote, not how they would vote. That is the question that Republicans will be campaigning on, since that is all that passing a marriage amendment would do. If they are somehow able to pass the amendment, then polling on whether or not they support the amendment would be a viable question.

Robinson also was quoted in the story linked above saying “This isn’t necessarily about gay marriage, but rather it’s about the people being allowed their constitutional right to vote”

Call me an old fashioned, heck, call me a gimlet if you want,  but I’m more interested in how people would actually vote. 

But  instead of cutting to the chase and polling to find out how Iowans feel about the real issue –and, yes, it is about gay marriages — TIR decided instead to poll test a Republican campaign talking point (It’s not about taking civil rights away from people, it’s about giving you the right to vote. Honest.)

I do not doubt that 67 percent of Iowans want a vote. But the assumption on the right is that if they want to vote, they surely must favor an amendment.

That’s a pretty big assumption. It might be right. But it might be wrong. I would have liked to see it tested.



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11 responses to “Don’t Poll, Don’t Tell

  1. Christine

    Hah, I knew it, just another cheesy ploy to win an election on the backs of a group they can whip the voters up against. I hope this turns on them and bites them on their conservative derrieres.

  2. Tom

    Did you see that The Onion says the military’s new policy on gays is, “Don’t Tell . . . Let Me Guess.”

  3. Yes, Republicans try to frame their support for adding discrimination to the constitution as a neutral stance in favor of “letting the people vote.”

    The truth is that legislators who support a marriage amendment are not neutral–they advocate amending our constitution to limit the rights of a minority group. But in America, we don’t make minority rights subject to a majority vote.

    Quite a few of the question wordings from The Iowa Republican poll put their thumb on the scales. The poll the Iowa First Foundation commissioned was conducted in a much more professional way.

  4. Christine

    desmoinesdem, I confess ignorance of the Iowa First Foundation poll. What were the results ?
    The poll mentioned here is highly suspect as the targets came from a homogeneous sample. That said, the idea of allowing a vote on basic human rights, is disturbing.

  5. Soup

    I think they did ask about views on homosexuality but didn’t want to share the results. They asked views on abortion in the article you linked and not from a court perspective. It is very interesting TIR has so far failed to publish their polling methods, questions, or results. They just post results here and there to support their agenda.

  6. The Iowa First Foundation poll was the one Doug Gross commissioned in March (conducted by Hill Research Consultants). As it happens, I was a respondent for that poll and took detailed notes, which I posted at Bleeding Heartland at the time.

    Jason Hancock wrote up some of the results at Iowa Independent after they were released. The crowd at The Iowa Republican blog didn’t think much of that poll’s validity, which amused me.

  7. Christine

    No, I expect they wouldn’t think much of the validity when it gets you an outcome you don’t like. Thank you for the information.

  8. Tony

    Dorman took a week off? From What?

  9. DesmoinesDem,

    I find it interesting that you praise the Iowa First Foundation Poll. Its findings showed a majority of those surveyed found that candidates who support gay marriage not to be appealing.

    From my story on the subject:

    When asked how they felt about a candidate who allowed same-sex or gay and lesbian couples to be married in Iowa, 60% said that was not appealing. Of that number, 17% said it was “not appealing,” and 43% said it was “not appealing at all.” Only 7% found that position to be very appealing, and 29% said that position was somewhat appealing.

    The polling data is pretty consistent on this issue. Iowans feel they should be able to vote on the issue of gay marriage, not seven un-elected judges. They also don’t find candidates who support gay marriage to be very appealing.

    • jlxn

      The poll covered many more topics than gay marriage and really, what does it matter that 60% apparently don’t find a candidate who allowed same-sex or gay and lesbian couples to be married not appealing. The idea here is that a majority should not be allowed to take rights from minorities. I would really like to hear someone justify that idea sometime.

      And I’d really like to hear someone explain where the founding fathers went so wrong when they conceived of the idea of an independent judiciary branch of our government. If they were trying to design a democratic system that attempts to balance the will of the majority and the rights of minorities, seems to me they have a pretty good idea here.

      That is unless you cling to a simplistic definition of democracy and have difficulty when the courts decisions do not go your way.

  10. Soup,

    The actual cross tabs and questions have been sent to the media each and every day. And sorry we didn’t ask a question about homosexuality.

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