As you found out a few weeks ago, we are on the Family Research Council’s mailing list. And as we found out yesterday, they are still doing that fun thing where they can look at polls and say, “Nah, that’s not the real thing that is real, we are going to make one up.” We found this out because they sent us an email!
This particular skewed-up poll is from Quinnipiac University, which last week released poll results showing 54 percent of Catholic voters support gay marriage. But there are still many Catholics who do not agree with that, you see, and they are CONVINCED they are right, so there must not be people who feel otherwise. Let the spin… begin.
We start at the beginning:
Polls, Sarah Palin once joked, are for firemen and cross-country skiers.
Another thing about Sarah Palin: She lost her only national election and is now an unemployed person ranting on Facebook.
When it comes to politics, they’re a little less reliable.
Nevermind, of course, that polls played a major role in Nate Silver correctly predicting the results of 99 out of 100 states in the last two presidential elections.
These days, polls try to shape more opinions than they reflect–and there’s no better example of that than the spin coming out of Quinnipiac University. The once-reputable survey house found itself on plenty of news outlets over the weekend for its blockbuster poll on same-sex “marriage.”
Based on the numbers, Quinnipiac analyst Peter Brown claimed Catholics were supposedly “leading American voters toward support for same-sex ‘marriage.’”
Turns out, the statement was a wild misrepresentation of the group’s own data.
Oh, yes! The data:
Well, it looks like it’s a fairly accurate representation of the group’s data, for definitions of “fairly accurate” that include “direct transcription.”
Stunned by Brown’s statement, organizations like Bill Donohue’s Catholic League took a closer look at the survey and found that Quinnipiac had deliberately distorted the numbers. Instead of segregating the data based on church attendance — as the survey had done on every other question — Quinnipiac intentionally lumped together the responses of practicing and non-practicing Catholics to achieve the desired result: 54% support for same-sex “marriage.”
Ah-HA! Those tricky pollsters, they were counting Catholics whom Bill Donohue does not think are Catholics. Also, the FRC’s definition of “non-practicing Catholics” looks to be, if we’re talking about the poll data, anyone who does not attend church on at least a weekly basis.
You hear that, Catholics who only show up on Easter? You don’t count in polls!
Predictably, Donohue says, “the media gave this ‘finding’ top billing.”
In reality, popular opinion wasn’t so popular after all. The survey found that regular churchgoers are overwhelmingly opposed to counterfeit marriage — by an even larger margin than Quinnipiac claimed. Donohue’s group blasted the organization for manipulating the data to suit their agenda. (Why else would the organization have kept uniform standards for every question but this one?)
COUNTERFEIT MARRIAGE! Wouldja look at that! What a great term. But how did they find out the information they claim was excluded?
“After our news release was distributed,” Bill wrote, “reporters from CNSNews.com contacted Quinnipiac. What they admitted totally alters the outcome: 55% of Catholics who are regular church-goers are opposed to gay ‘marriage’ and only 38% favor it.”
Ohhh, they CALLED Quinnipiac! That’s cool, actually, for real — especially because Quinnipiac just, you know, TOLD them. As it turns out, people who go to church all the time agree with the church! How could Peter hide such a thing? Shame on you, Peter.
And who would have thought Catholics who disagree with the church on this rather large social issue… might not go to church as often! Too bad they’re fake Catholics, hiding behind stupid atheist Peter’s spreadsheets.
(Also “only 38 percent” is kind of a big number, isn’t it? If you are sitting in church and four out of every ten people around you think that church is full of shit about this gay stuff, that’s a big number, even with “only” in front of it.)
Peter Brown, whose selective reporting helped mislead the public, claimed that Quinnipiac “only [has] so much space, and can only do so many things up front.” (Accuracy, apparently, being one of those things it cannot do “up front.”)
Here’s a nice trick: There aren’t any incorrect numbers in the report, and the gay marriage stuff has a more thorough demographic breakdown than any other question. But because that question combined Good Catholics with the bad ones, QUINNIPIAC IS INACCURATE.
The truth of the matter is better demonstrated by the links in the email: One is to CNS News, the other to the Catholic League. Because the actual information doesn’t fit the good, religious narrative of screw the gays and take away their babies, the Good Catholics have to dump some other, special numbers into the “conservative media,” so it can barf up some more reassuring stats, just like the ones that got Mitt Romney elected in November with 7 gillion electoral votes from Ohio and the Newt Gingrich Moon Base.
Yes, 55 percent of “weekly mass-attending Catholics” are against same-sex marriage. But that omits 69 percent of all Catholics, who do not go every week but have not yet been excommunicated by the cool new pope. The “skewed” numbers aren’t caused by Quinnipiac cooking the books, they’re caused by the Catholic Church alienating the people sending it money every Christmas. Just ask the 58 percent of young Catholics who disagree with the Obamacare contraception argument. You could also ask the 52 percent of all Catholics who say church leaders are “out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today,” a number that’s up 41 percent since 2005. Or maybe the 31 percent of Catholics who say the church is headed “in the wrong direction,” up 121 percent in the same time frame. But you won’t, and that’s probably why they feel that way.
And here’s the rest of the email, in case you care:
Although Quinnipiac confessed to slanting the data, the organization refuses to correct its website or the press’s misconceptions. To them, it’s an inconvenient truth that the church is still fiercely opposed to redefining marriage. Unlike some people, whose principles sway to and fro with the politically correct winds, our convictions are fixed. As Christians, we stand for what’s right–even if it means standing alone. And right now, we’re far from alone!
You are NOT ALONE! 55 percent of 31 percent of 24 percent of Americans agree with you — that’s practically a majority!