The Los Angeles Times followed up the California State Supreme Court gay marriage coup with a poll to discover how state residents feel about the decision and a possible constitutional amendment to overturn it. As Mollie at GetReligion notes, the reporting on the poll is a bit, ah, slanted:
The Los Angeles Times and KTLA conducted a poll of Californians to determine their support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and their feelings about the state Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage.
According to the headline in the print edition, “Californians slimly reject gay marriage.” The Times website’s front page says, “Californians reject gay marriage by a bit.”
The punch line is in the fourth paragraph of the Times story, which says:
Either way, the poll suggests the outcome of the proposed amendment is far from certain. Overall, it was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters.
I was a political science major in college, and was always taught that a “landslide” was defined by a candidate or referendum being supported by 55% of those voting. That means that as things now stand, the amendment would only have to capture a small portion of the 11% undecided to qualify as a landslide. And consider this from the Baptist Press, which Mollie notes in a follow-up post:
Although 54 percent is a slippage in support for traditional marriage since 2000 — when a law banning “gay marriage” passed 61-39 percent — marriage amendments typically do better at the ballot than they do in polling. For example, a Wisconsin amendment in 2006 polled anywhere from 48 to 51 percent in pre-election polls but passed 59-41 percent, and an Oregon amendment in 2004 polled around 50 percent but passed 56-44 percent.
So, in what universe is this a “slim” margin in which Californians favor the amendment by “a bit”? Must be the world of the mainstream media, where according to the Pew Research Trust 88% of the denizens support same sex marriage, but where math skills–and for some, honesty–are apparently not necessary to the job.
(Hat tip: commenter Words Matter at T19.)