After the burn of Proposition 8, can you blame us for being wary? While poll respondents might indicate half of them support gay marriage, it’s a very different thing to say half of people who vote support gay marriage, and that’s what a poll like this let’s reporters conclude.
Let’s look at the top and bottom of this two-headed coin.
First, some participants will tell pollsters that they’re pro-gay marriage and then turn around and vote against gay marriage in the polling booth, because they can’t admit their bigotry to another person. (It’s called the Bradley effect, as you’re probably aware.)
Second, and even more problematic, is that we haven’t figured out how to get folks who genuinely support gay marriage to the polls on Election Day. It’s easy to be a pro-gay when some guy standing outside CVS asks you (or you answer the survey online), but why would you leave home to vote for some gay-issue that doesn’t even effect you when there’s so much good television on?
The only good thing this poll reiterates is that celebrating a 50 percent figure is too risky when a) it comes to spreading HIV; and b) thinking we have gay marriage in the bag. Next time, we need to make sure we have the odds slanted well in our favor.