Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On the amendment poll(s)

So I finally found yesterday's paper. Apparently someone brought it in and laid it on a full laundry basket which made its way to the laundry room. I had a pretty hectic day yesterday, so I probably would have missed Bob Gibson's Daily Progress article about the anti-gay amendment poll had Waldo not mentioned it.

As VoteNOva and The Roanoke Times point out, this was a very misinforming poll. The question asked contained only the first line of the amendment, leaving out the very unsettling second part, which is the cause (besides personal ethical outrage) for so many heterosexuals to be concerned about this amendment.

"Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

The fact that Bob Gibson reports otherwise, saying that, "The ballot question asks: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state..." followed by the entirety of the amendment leaves me to believe some letters to the editor are due. (I wonder where today's paper has scuttled off to this time? The dishwasher no doubt!) The poll is misleading to the nature of the amendment and the report double so to the nature of its majority approval. The actual poll continues to propagate the idea that this is a marriage amendment where the issue is purely the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. It will open a new section to the Virginia Bill of Rights titled Marriage, but people are going to find a lot more to it, if it's passed. Probably a lot they wouldn't have voted for had they known. Gibson's report implies that they did.

VoteNOva offers an alternative poll where 800 people were asked with the entirety of the amendment presented. Their findings show 54 percent disapproving or undecided, making for a "virtual statistical dead heat."

Though I am happy that Gibson's report shows the full amendment, which I feel far too many people have not actually read, I'm still not very happy about all this. The report as I said before implies that people approve the full amendment. Regardless of their actual knowledge of the amendment's content, that's what is posted. That's what the undecided are reading. Granted as Waldo says, it's not the 76 percent he imagined, but I still think that polls have some weight on undecideds' decisions. If someone can't make up their mind, they often support their party, and if both main parties seem to be going for it in big numbers, then it must be good, right? Sure that's pessimistic, sure I'd like to think we all think for ourselves about every issue... but am I really that wrong? And let's not forget the ego boost this gives for political supporters of the amendment. Whenever the argument comes up they can say, "Look, it's what the majority wants."

My point is, things like this are a setback in more ways than the obvious. It's going to make it a lot harder to get people to listen and to answer questions. There will have to be some strong responses to this in order to win.

Though Waldo makes a good point with his optimism. I can't say I fully share it. If all else fails, it's nice to know, but that's still a luxury that he and I have as young heterosexuals. Five or six years aren't going to affect us... unless we find ourselves in any of the many possible situations that the second part of the amendment might entail.


Blogger Tim McCormack said...

Unlike the proposed one, not all amendments are bad. For example, the following amendment I would make to your blog post:

Let "which I feel far too many people have actually read" be changed to "which I feel far too many people have not actually read".

3:05 PM  
Blogger Cory Capron said...


Indeed, some amendments are VERY good!

Yours just passed.


3:15 PM  

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