Gallup

Virginians Support Same-Sex Marriage? Not So Fast . . .

The Sunday before Election Day 2006, a Richmond Times-Dispatch headline screamed that polling showed the Marriage Amendment campaign had tightened. The poll said that the amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman was supported by a slim 49-45 percent margin. That was the closest poll we had ever seen on the issue. Two days later, the amendment passed by a 14 point margin, 57-43 percent. How could the T-D poll have been so wrong just two days prior to the vote?

Polls taken over the years on the definition of marriage have wavered more than Tim Kaine on gay adoption (remember, running for governor in 2005 he opposed homosexual couples adopting, but now he's in favor of it). For example, Gallup polling on the issue of homosexual marriage went from 46 percent support in 2007, down to 40 percent in 2008 and 2009, but back up to 44 percent in 2010. So it doesn't surprise me at all that a Washington Post media poll of 1,000 people has found that, according to the Post, "Virginians are closely split on gay marriage" — and that the rest of the state's mainstream media ran with it.

But are they really?

The truth is that polls have been overwhelmingly disconnected from reality when it comes to the issue of homosexual marriage. One need look only as far as the 31 states that have had the issue put to the voters, and in every case the traditional definition of marriage has won, including California.

The longer I am involved in politics, the more dismissive I have become of most media polling. Many experts believe that, particularly on the issues of abortion and homosexuality, a lot of people tell a pollster what they think the pollster wants to hear. On the issue of same-sex marriage, while a few media polls indicate that people support it, in the 31 states where it has gone to the ballot the people have overwhelmingly rejected it. One might tell their neighbor they are open to homosexual marriage, but when the reality is in front of them in the voting booth, traditional marriage still resonates instinctively, intuitively, justly . . . morally.

Social issues such as abortion and homosexuality have dynamics at play that I don't think can be measured with simple media polling. Asking 1,000 people a simple question doesn't generally get to the core of complex issues. It makes for interesting editorial page fodder, but I doubt too many people take it seriously, except for the so-called "progressives" who will no doubt champion the media poll and bring the issue before the next General Assembly. I suspect some will even attempt to make it a campaign issue (funny, I thought it was all about the economy).

But I also find it interesting that the same "progressives" reject professional (not media) polling that shows an overwhelming number of Virginians support school choice. You see, polling can work both ways, which is why no one should base their beliefs or agenda on it. Sure, professionally done, in depth issue polling can provide insight, but hastily done media polls done over a weekend for the mainstream media isn't something I want to base any policy decision on. I certainly wouldn't want to base the future of our children on it.

Pew Poll Confirms Tide Has Turned In Abortion Debate

In late August, Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds took what most political analysts said was a gamble when he began hammering Republican Bob McDonnell on the issue of abortion — and in contradiction of his pledge to leave social issues out of the campaign. Many thought Deeds' lackluster campaign was looking for an issue that would motivate his base, but at the risk of alienating independent voters. Thursday, the Pew Research Center for People & the Press released a national survey (see Pew) that might indicate the Deeds move was the wrong one. Said Pew:

Recently, Americans have become more opposed to legal abortion.

In fact, the division between those who believe abortion should be illegal in almost all cases is nearly even with those who believe it should be legal in most cases, a significant shift. Plus, the number of those who think abortion should be more difficult to obtain also increased (see U.S. News & World Report).

But what should worry Deeds the most is that liberal Democrats polled have lost an extraordinary amount of intensity on the issue. According to Pew:

There has been a 26-point drop since 2006 in the proportion of liberal Democrats who say abortion is a critical issue, from 34 percent to 8 percent.

Ooops! So much for energizing the base.

As with any abortion poll, the news is mixed, but it discloses many positive trends. For example, it indicates an important shift in public opinion away from abortion on demand. It confirms a Gallup poll from May (see Gallup) that shows more Americans consider themselves pro-life than "pro-choice" for the first time in that poll's history.

So, we are winning this issue on a daily basis by changing hearts and minds. It is nearly impossible to look at the beauty shown by an ultrasound and not recognize the humanity that exists. Any woman who has heard the heartbeat of her unborn child for the first time and then sees the image of that child inside her is drawn naturally to the conclusion that it is a human life worth defending.

More and more people are drawn to that defense, too. Virginians and Americans are joining together for the next several weeks for 40 Days for Life. We urge you to join with them (see how, here) in praying for more hearts and minds to change. Also, call your local pregnancy resource center and lend a hand. Reach out to a woman in crisis and provide for her needs. Together, through prayer and action, and through God’s blessing, we will one day live in a nation that respects all human life — born and unborn.

Virginia News Stand: October 5, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Dems Abandoning Deeds? Surprisingly Close House Race?

Articles of note in today's large News Stand: At the top of the News section, as well as at the top of the National News section, are articles in which leading national Democrats  sound as if Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is in the bottom of the ninth, with at least one out. New Jersey is the name of the game, now, they say (see this QOD if you haven't yet).

Meanwhile, Republican attorney general candidate, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), was the only one of the six statewide candidates to speak at the traditional Jefferson Assembly at Poplar Forest. (Virginia pols turning down a chance to appear Jeffersonian?) The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at 10 House of Delegates races that may decide its control. Most interesting, it includes the 69th district race. The 69th is a majority-minority district and is overwhelmingly Democrat. But Republican Ernesto Sampson is giving Democrat Betsy Carr more than she wants.

Aside from campaigns, the Life issue continues to confound liberals, who don't seem to understand that people have a natural instinct to preserve it. First, a new Pew Research poll confirms a Gallup survey earlier this year — support for Life continues to rise. Those supporting abortion are stagnant or falling. See the Analysis section. Then, for all the stereotype of college students being pro-abortion, there are Students for Life groups springing up all over Virginia campuses and around the country. The James Madison University Dukes for Life are profiled in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record

News:

Schweitzer: Dems Have Better Shot in New Jersey (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds: From Patching Fence to Straddling It (Washington Post)

McDonnell Tops Deeds On TV Ad Spending (Washington Post)

In cash race, businesses back Va. governor candidate McDonnell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds, McDonnell each claim endorsements (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

DNC giving Deeds additional $1 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Politicians stump at Poplar Forest event (Lynchburg News & Advance)

TV ad wars heat up in governor's race (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House of Delegates control up for grabs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gilbert Boosts War Chest With $19K Fundraiser (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Newcomers compete for Del. Kenneth Melvin's seat in 80th House district (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

JMU Group Joins Abortion Protest (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

High court rejects 'Choose Life' plates case (Washington Times)

National News:

Democrats see rise in New Jersey, fade in Va. governors' races (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot/Politico.com)

Same-sex marriage close to D.C. approval (Washington Times)

Analysis:

Support for abortion slips (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Poll Check: A Shift on Abortion? (Jon Cohen/Washington Post Behind The Numbers Blog)