The American Family Association has issued a biased vote on whether you think homosexual marriage should be legalized. Allow me to explain how this vote is biased:
The choices are:
I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and “civil unions”
I favor legalization of homosexual marriage
I favor a “civil union” with the full benefits of marriage except for the name
The AFA, however, is a group in support of an Ammendment that would make homosexual marriage illegal. Considering this, it seems natural that they would ask whether someone is in favor of making homosexual marriage illegal or not. However, looking at the poll, it seems that they are asking whether the reader would be in favor of an ammendment that makes gay marriage legal everywhere. Someone who opposes such a federal law to make homosexual marriage legal is not necessarily in support of an ammendment that would make gay marriage illegal. Though the AFA plans to use this poll as support for their ammendment.
Jaxian, your reading of bias into this poll is not actually that accurate. First of all, the choices provided are perfectly legitimate because homosexual marriage is generally illegal, so it only makes sense to ask people about whether or not they would change the actual situation. Second, what the AFA wants is not an Amendment making homosexual marriage illegal, but rather one that makes the legalization of homosexual marriage unconstitutional. Presumably, if you oppose legalization of homosexual marriage, you would support an Amendment barring that legalization. As such, I don’t think the AFA poll is stretching any sort of reasonability.
Yes, presumably someone who say he or she opposes legalization of homosexual marriage would support such an Ammendment. Presumably.
Though let us take for example a person who is neutral on the issue but thinks that states should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to legalize gay marriage. When asked whether that person is in support of legalization of gay marriage or opposed to it, that person may say that he or she is opposed to it, assuming that this means a federal law to legalize it everywhere. Also, I wonder whether people are more likely to vote against what seems to be a change to our current system.
It obviously couldn’t be a very large bias, but if the AFA was trying to get an accurate judge of support for an ammendment that makes gay marriage illegal (I continue to say ‘illegal’ even though ‘unconstitutional’ is more correct because ‘illegal’ is easier to type and everyone here understands what I mean), they would have simply asked, “Would you support an ammendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman?” Why would they ask a completely different question? The AFA may have thought it more likely that people would say they oppose legalization of gay marriage than that they support an Ammendment barring it.
Oh, the more I think about it, the more I think I’m probably just reading too much into it. Also, I noticed that I’m operating under the assumption that the AFA is going to send this in solely as support for their Ammendment, though part of their intent is likely to send it in as defense against legalization of same-sex marriage. Anyhow, I didn’t mean to start up a big debate. But the wording of polls does make a very big difference, and I think it is good to at least wonder how the results of such a poll would be changed. People do choose the way they word polls for a reason.