Survey Says

California’s Poll 4 Equality Results Are In. No, You Still Can’t See Them Yet


So much for openness. Despite all the cries that a not-exactly-publicized meeting of top gay rights organizers on Sunday in Fresno (following Saturday’s Meet In The Middle Rally) was a beacon of democratic group thinking and transparency, the mainstream media were indeed told they wouldn’t be allowed inside the hotel meeting area when new results May polling were revealed.

We already knew there was a closed portion of Sunday’s meeting, which, depending on who you believe, was or was not supposed to remain relatively private as a whole. (Queerty didn’t hear about it, though we’ve heard about every breath and blink that organizers have made since.)

In additional to organizing things like October’s March on Washington, the Sunday meeting was also where the poll results from May’s Poll 4 Equality were revealed — and which organizers wanted to keep secret.

When the poll results were shared on Sunday, organizers disabled the wifi connection, silenced a live webcast, and instructed bloggers to keep the information offline. Looking for press photos of the event (after being told the meeting was open to the media), we couldn’t find any. Commenter Jon said, “You can’t find any press photos from any major news outlets because no outlet sent a photographer. Their choice. Not a conspiracy to black out any images under a cloud of ‘secrecy’ just a decision on their part not to cover it.” This, we now confirm, is patently false.


As for the poll data? That’s the result of Poll 4 Equality’s $85,000 price tag; it was conducted by David Binder Research and Goodwin Simon Victoria Research and paid for through contributions and budgets from over 25 gay and civil liberties organizations to see where California’s voters stood on same-sex marriage.

Of course, since the polling took place from May 8-15, the results don’t show any possible change in attitudes since the California Supreme Court handed down its Prop 8 ruling, leading some insiders we’ve heard from to believe the entire effort was a substantial waste of cash.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s event — which we’re told was announced on a listserv and then mentioned briefly at the public rally on Saturday — was not the transparent event many have claimed it to be (right here in Queerty‘s comments). But just because the poll’s reveal took place behind closed doors hasn’t kept the data from the poll from leaking to the media, reports Rex Wockner. “The polling data that activists are hoping to keep under wraps was leaked in full in late May to at least five gay- and mainstream-media reporters, none of whom has written about it yet. [Ed: An agreement by reporters to embargo the information?] The first references to it likely will appear in the Bay Area Reporter on June 4. Following the leak and the summit, a very small amount of the data was released publicly on June 2. It was unclear if the release was a response to the leak or had been planned beforehand. Prior to the release, several people from groups that paid for the poll attempted to discourage the journalists who had gotten their hands on the full data from writing about it or sharing it.”

As you told you about earlier, Poll 4 Equality’s backers today held a conference call for the mainstream media (outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle were on the call, as was Queerty, though a technical malfunction kept us from doing anything but listening) and shared some of the specifics of the poll, like methodology. Except: They have not yet decided to release the data from all 74 questions asked. Little more hard information than what Queerty already told you about was included, signaling a concerted effort to keep the specifics of the poll data under wraps.

(Listen to the full hour-long call on your right)

Theoretically, hiding the full poll data keeps opponents at an arm’s distance; organizations like the National Organization for Marriage won’t be able to whip up a YouTube spot and turn the data against activists. On the other hand, every day the poll data is protected is one fewer day organizers have to mount an effort to repeal Prop 8 in either 2010, or build an argument to wait until 2012. And while Gay Inc. might have paid for it and own the results, keeping it from the gay community at large is certain to draw more fire about exclusive, top-down leadership making the calls, a strategy many blame for the failure to stop Prop 8 in the first place.

And perhaps the most interesting reveal on today’s call? Organizers don’t even have a deadline to set a deadline on when they’ll decide whether to push for a 2010 repeal of Prop 8 or let it wait until 2012. That decision, we’re told, is coming.

(Attendees on the call included: David Binder, Binder Research; Amy R. Simon, Goodwin Simon Victoria Research; Tawal Panyacosit, API Equality; Lester Aponte, Honor PAC; Ange-Marie Hancock, Jordan Rustin Coalition; Molly McKay, Marriage Equality U.S.A.; Marc Solomon, Equality California; Mike Bonin, Courage Campaign; Matt Palazzolo, Equal Roots Coalition; Nick Velasquez, F.A.I.R; Kerry Chaplin, California Faith for Equality. Sarah Reece from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force could not be on the call.)

(Photos: Los Angeles Times)

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  • Cam

    Rather than running any type of campaign, these folks should just colaborate on a book “How to Lose”.

  • timncguy

    Is there some LEGAL reason that we aren’t being told about that makes it illegal to put the issue back on the ballot in BOTH 2010 and 2012 if necessary? Why is it necessary to pick one or the other? Why not just get it on the ballot in 2010 and if we lose, do it again in 2012, then 2014, 2016 until we win?

  • getreal

    Everyone who was there knows you were able to walk in there was no list there was not even a door person to welcome or decline people admission. The meeting was announced for weeks ahead of time I got 8 emails about it from 6 different organizations for weeks ahead of time. It was also announced to a group of thousands of people who then facebooked and twittered so thousands and thousands more people could find out about.If I a lowly volunteer activist was apprised of this meeting many other people could have been. The fact is most people who went to the march either went home or were to hung over after all the parties of the night before to get their asses up for in the morning for a 7 hour meeting. It seems like Queerty knew about it didn’t bother to attend and they are now having sour grapes. I was there David it would have been nice to meet you.

  • Sam

    @timncguy: 1,000,000+ signatures to qualify and tens of millions of dollars to pay for a credible campaign would be two non-legal reasons why it’s impractical to keep running it every two years.

  • getreal

    @yeson8won: Why don’t you move on? You have made your bigoted meager points and no one even reads your messages. Your posts are boring and uninspired I stopped reading them a while ago you got your attention you have made straight people look like self-centered hate-mongers so mission accomplished. Take your own advice and move on and work on your issues. I won’t bother to read your reply so to save you the hetero-phobe card I am a straight gay rights activists who believes all Americans deserve the same right and the equality army will never stop till marriage is a right of everyone not a privilege of some.Do you hear that? It is the sound of inevitability. Gay marriage is coming you can’t stop it and after it will come full equality under the law. Keep having your prejudiced tantrums you are a joke and a relic and nothing you or your bigoted brethren do will change that. I will now go back to ignoring you. Do the world a favor and crawl back into your mothers womb.

  • Vladimir Bierko

    From the story: Commenter Jon said, “You can’t find any press photos from any major news outlets because no outlet sent a photographer. Their choice. Not a conspiracy to black out any images under a cloud of ‘secrecy’ just a decision on their part not to cover it.” This, we now confirm, is patently false.

    If you issue a patent, aren’t you supposed to make it public? In other words, what major news outlet send a photographer that was turned away? Why not mention in the story?

  • Aj

    Queerty is amazing — and I don’t mean that in any positive way. You take yourselves much too seriously as “journalists;” look to create controversy where there is none (or little); present gossip as fact with no basis, foundation or direct knowledge; purposefully misrepresent a group of grassroots organizers as “exclusive, top down” leadership;” continue to report lies as fact, even after several attendees of the Leadership Summit specifically corrected the record you’re trying to establish (“…organizing things like October’s March on Washington” is absolutely false, you’ve been told that by several direct sources, yet you continue to say it enough times to think that it will become true — gee, where have we seen that before?? Hint: 2000-2008).

    You clearly have an agenda, and from my perspective, it’s not one that is supportive of GLBT equality. Having directly witnessed much of what you’ve been “reporting,” and seeing very little resemblance to the actual events, leads me to conclude one of 3 things: 1) You’re incompetent 2) You’re relying on very poor “sources,” — which, if true, you’re incompetent or 3) You have your own agenda and are going out of your way to sabatoge every effort put forth by the people in this state who are actually doing the work for positive change — again, if true, you’re incompetent. So, to sum it up, I can draw only one conclusion: you’re incomptent.

    This has certainly taught me to take everything I read: MSM, bloggers, online “journalists” with the grain of truth that they probably possess and ignore it, and move on to the work of this movement.

  • valley1012

    There is no legal reason we can not have a ballot proposition in 2010 and every election afterward. But we intend to get it right this time. If you want to help, go to

    BTW. This is Lester Aponte. I am not with Honor Pac (which is a fine organization), but with Love Honor Cherish and the Latino Equality Alliance. I share your concern about there not being a deadline set among coalition partners to decide on 2010. As both Marc Solomon and myself explained during the conference, we need volunteers to be hitting the streets with petitions by September or the opportunity will be lost. I have no doubt that there will be a ballot proposition to restore marriage equality in California on the November 2010 ballot. The hangup is that an increasingly smaller minority among activists want to continue the conversation and many organizations don’t want those people to feel rushed or forced. At LHC we have been committed to 2010 ever since Prop 8 passed we have laid ot plans for the signature gathering process. Joining us on the call for a 2010 proposition are Stonewall Democrats, Latino Equality Alliance, Meet in the Middle, OUT WEST, the California Democratic Party and many other organizations listed at

    As to the confidentiality issue, the pollsters will be making their powerpoint presentation available to everyone. There will still be some more detailed data about strategy, etc. that will not be made public, and contrary to rumor, is not public now. The reason is that you do not hand out sensitive information to the opposition. That is politics 101. Let them pay for their own survey.

    REPEAL PROP 8 IN 2010
    ELIMINA LA 8 EN 2010

  • getreal

    @valley1012: Lester my man big fan!

  • edgyguy1426

    @Aj: well then, see ya

  • daveinthe805

    VALLEY1012 hit it right on the nose. While the data helps us target for the removal/repeal of Prop 8, the data also helps our opposition on how they can weaken support for us as well. It’s a fine line that needs to be drawn.

  • Mark Snyder

    A clarification: The march on washington was not organized or discussed at the Sunday meeting.

  • valley1012


    Thanks Mom. LOL. J/K

  • Alec

    @yeson8won: Hah. Tell that to supporters of parental notification for abortion in California. Three times in four years.

  • Vladimir Bierko

    I dig how Queerty is criticizing groups for transparency, but they don’t say who is responsible for writing the above story. At least other haters take credit/responsibility for their work.

  • Jon

    IF you’re going to quote me I would expect you to quote me completely and not carve up what I posted to suit your own slanted purpose. What I REALLY said was:

    “You can’t find any press photos from any major news outlets because no outlet sent a photographer. Their choice. Not a conspiracy to black out any images under a cloud of “secrecy” just a decision on their part not to cover it. However there were many other folks with cameras there and I’m sure that some images will start showing up on blogs and facebook pages in the near future.”

    Indeed this is now the case, and I’ve seen photos posted online. (I’m not telling you where QUEERTY because I’m tired of doing fact finding for you)

    As far as your claim of “patently false” I’m beginning to think that you studied how to parse language under Lord Vader himself — Dick Cheney. PLEASE EXPLAIN WHICH PHOTOGRAPHER WAS TURNED AWAY. Answer- NONE. WHICH NEWS OUTLET SENT A CAMERA PERSON? Again – NONE. A few local Media came to cover the event, were allowed in to get b-roll and then left. This hardly seems like the “Katie-bar-the-door” sub-rosa scenario you keep shilling for.

    As was posted earlier, there was one portion that was closed to cameras, blogs and journalists. But to insinuate that it was off-limits the entire tme and that photographers were barred is certainly disingenuous on your part, bad reporting and wholly irresponsible behavior.

    I would request you try to report the truth but I’m not sure you even know where to begin to find it.

  • Alec

    Well this campaign is off to a great start, judging by the coverage. I can’t imagine why we’ve seen so many divisions from the No on 8 campaign materialize.

    Jon Hoadley of National Stonewall Democrats should be advising these people. He handled the campaign against South Dakota’s measure, which passed in 2008 by roughly the same margin that Prop 8 passed by. Given that the setting was South Dakota, I don’t know why he wasn’t brought in for the comparatively favorable setting of California.

  • stevenelliot

    I suppose someone with the mental age of 12 flagged my responses to him/her.

    ‘yeson8won’ it could only have been you.

    As I said, “the thought police”

    This isnt craigslist. flagging is so immature…..

  • atdleft

    @valley1012: Woo-hoo! Thanks, Lester. Btw, it was great meeting you last weekend. And btw, thanks for explaining what I and many others have been trying to say here. While it’s good to be as open as transparent as possible, we should NOT be giving away our entire campaign plan to the NOMbies/Yes on H8ers. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if some of the hater trolls bashing Meet in the Middle in the comments are really H8ers taking advantage of Queerty stupidly dividing the community over this.

    @Aj: Thank you also for injecting some reason into this thread. Again, the 2010 campaign should be as grassroots-friendly as possible. However, grassroots-friendly should NOT mean open to NOM infiltration.

  • Paul

    This secrecy and self important elitiest crap is not going to win anything for glbtq folks. We tried this approach last time and how did that work out for us? The next campaign strategy should be posted in huge block letters on tv, every lamp post, park bench, local and state newspapers. All, including our adversaries should know what they are up against. We need to force them to discuss the issues on our terms not the other way around. We know what their strategey is: lies, smears, fear mongering, self identified victimization of the oppressor, select out of context bible quotes, and blatent bigotry. What is so difficult about understanding that? Now we need to expose these assholes for who they really are. Start now and stay ahead of the story and conversation. Control the conversation. When you do this, you win. Simple.

    Let the public know exactly what our campaign and strategy is all about: out reach to the folks who voted against us, encouraging glbtq as well as equality minded people to get off their asses next election day and vote for the removal of this anti same sex marriage amendment, speaking about civil rights and equality and why it matters to anyone who will listen, exposing the anti gay marriage folks lies before they are even spoken, etc. None of this will hurt us, transparency and the truth and exposing the lies of the haters is all we need.

  • Chaz Lowe

    Hello Queerty,

    My name is Chaz Lowe and I was one of the organizers for Sunday’s event. I, like many others, have concerns when you post information without checking the sources first. I will attempt to clarify.

    First, as an organizer for the event, I was caught in the middle between a plethora of community leaders who said they would not come if the press was invited to the strategy session and the press which believed they were entitled to attend. Initially, the plan was to allow only the LGBT press to come, but after a nice chat with Lisa from the AP, we decided to open the meeting to all the media. However, on Sunday, Vincent Jones, who was the moderator, was faced with a walkout of community leaders who were upset that the press would post poll data that would be damaging if found by the otherside. A democratic vote was then conducted, and the ROOM voted to close the poll session. NOTE: over 300 organizers from across California were there and an overwhelming majority wanted a closed poll session. It was not one person’s decision.

    I must also vent my frustration when bloggers, such as Queerty, post damaging information that will aid the Yes on 8 side. We ARE NOT hiding the poll information from our community, in fact, we have planned 80 community meetings across California to share this info with the LGBT community. We also had a press call yesterday about the poll. However, creating posts, such as ‘All the Things Homophobes can Learn..’ is inappropriate and genuinely hurts the movement.

    I also believe the badgering of community leaders who have sacrificed their life for this movement is uncalled for. I myself have gone over 6 months without pay, working 7 days a week and have gotten so low on money that I am literally down to one meal a day. The bullying and egos within our own community needs to stop.

    I would also hope that if you take issue with myself or another organizer, you would have the decency to come and talk with us first rather than post information that may or may not be true.


    Chaz Lowe
    Yes on Equality

Comments are closed.