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Religious Tolerance logo

Maverick public opinion surveys
on gay marriage whose results
are very different from all others.

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Part 2 of two parts

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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A consolidated graph by Pew Research:

This graph (repeated here from the previous essay) shows results from their marriage equality surveys, 2001 to 2016:

Pew Research graph on SSM

Many other polling agencies report similar results. They show

  • A very high opposition to marriage equality during the 20th century.

  • A gradual increase in support and reduction of opposition since about the year 2004. This was when the Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage.

  • A temporary reversal of the direction of the two trends between 2008 and 2009. This may have been due to the controversy over Proposition 8 in California. Same-sex marriage had been legalized by a state court there during 2008-MAY and terminated by a very narrow margin in November of that year after a controversial Prop 8 referendum (a.k.a. Prop H8).

  • A gradual increase at almost 2 percentage points per year in support of gay marriage and a slightly slower reduction in opposition. This rate of change is consistent with trends in other marriage questions, notably the gradual acceptance of interracial marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 decision to legalize such unions across the country. This type of social change is often driven by the generation approaching adulthood which generally have more liberal views than the older generation.

  • Support of, and opposition to, gay marriages were approximately equal in 2011.

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2011-JUL: A maverick poll by Lawrence Research:

At a time when most national public opinion polls showed that support and opposition to gay marriage were approximately equal at about 45%, pollster Gary Lawrence announced the results of his national poll which involved 1,000 randomly chosen adults in all 50 states during 2011-JUL. He found that:

  • 64.0% of U.S. adults opposed gay marriage;

  • 32.8% of those polled supported marriage equality.

  • The poll's margin of error was 3.1% 1

That would imply that:

  • 3.2% of those questioned either had no opinion or refused to answer. That is a unusually small value. This category typically represents about 8% of those contacted.

Lawrence Research was the polling company that collected opinion data on California's Proposition 8 referendum during 2008-NOV. Voters narrowly defeated same-sex marriage in the state that had been legalized by a state court earlier that year. Gary Lawrence is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church. During 2008 he held a volunteer position as head of the grassroots LDS effort to pass Prop 8.

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2016-NOV: A maverick poll by WPA Opinion Research:

Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research conducted a survey among registered voters on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC). The question that they asked was whether the person agreed with the statement:

"I believe marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman."

Their 2016-NOV results showed that only 37% were in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry. In comparison, other major polling agencies found 55% to 61% of U.S. adults favoring gay marriage during polls in 2015 and 2016. Yet the margins of error specified by the polling agencies were in the range of 2.4 to 4.0 percentage points. It is difficult to account for an approximately 20 percentage point difference in this one poll.

They completed a similar poll in 2015-FEB which also found a majority of 53% opposed to marriage equality.

Poll by:
Oppose SSM
Favor marriage equality
Increase in support for equality since mid-2015
Sample size
margin of error as stated by agency
WPA Opinion Research 2
±3.0 pp*

CBS News Poll 3
±3.0 pp
Pew Research 4
±2.4 pp
Gallup 5
±4.0 pp
CBS News Poll 3
±3.0 pp
CBS News Poll 3
±4.0 pp
Quinnipiac University 3
±2.5 pp
Quinnipiac University 3
±2.4 pp
ABC/Washington Post 3
±3.5 pp
±3.0 pp
NBC/Wall Street Jrnl. 3
±3.1 pp
WPA Opinion Research 6
not given
±3.5 pp

Public Religion Res. Inst. 3
±3.7 pp
ABC/Washington Post 3
±3.5 pp

* "pp" means "percentage points."

We are at a loss to understand how the WPA Opinion Research group found that a slight majority -- 53% -- of adults in Canada want to restrict marriage to one woman and one man, and thereby oppose marriages between persons of the same sex, whether they be lesbian, gay or bisexual. Meanwhile all of the other polling groups found avery different level of support.

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In spite of the results from WPA Opinion Research differing so greatly from every other polling agency, and even though other polling agencies agreed so closely, many conservative Christian web sites did not question WPA polling data from 2015 and 2016 as valid. They simply reported the data as if they were factual. These sites included:

  • Family Research Center, who sponsored the 2016 poll 6
  • LifeSiteNews 7
  • National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) 7
  • National Organization for Marriage (NOM) 8
  • Wisconsin Family Action 9
  • Point of View (a Christian radio talk show) 10
  • Rapture Forums 11
  • Patria, a UK conservative political group that seeks to repeal the UK laws supporting gay marriage and civil partnerships.12
  • New York Faith & Freedom Coalition 13
  • Christian Newswire 14

We have not been able to find:

  • A conservative Christian group that has raised suspicion that the WPA Opinion Research numbers might be invalid.

  • A mainline Christian group that has reported on this poll's findings.

However, some secular web sites did raise red flags:

  • "The Slowly Boiled Frog" web site put forth their opinion why the difference existed. 15 However, their statements were so offensive that we have decided to not repeat them here.

  • The "Joe My God" web site commented that the WPA polling group revealed client testimonials from:

    "... Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, the lead Senate sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. And that's all we need to know about this poll. Dismissed." 16

    The FMA amendment, a.k.a. Marriage Protection Amendment) was a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have restricted marriage in the country to a union of one woman and one man. It was sponsored by Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) in 2004 and is apparently stalled. In order for this bill to be implemented it would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and then ratified by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

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Webmaster's comment:

We do not know the reason(s) why the results of the above two polls deviate so greatly from all the other polling agencies that are not tightly tied to conservative Christian beliefs. But since the bulk of polls on gay marriage publish very similar results, I think that it is safe to ignore the two conservative Christian-based polls described above.

Unfortunately, most religious and/or political liberals in the U.S. tend to seek out and study news sources that are also liberal. Meanwhile most religious and/or political conservatives seek out news sources that hold similar beliefs to their own. I have always felt that it is extremely important that everyone sample a broad range of the media in order to find out what the public is thinking and on what they base their beliefs.

The Inernet is a wonderful invention. It allows the free exchange of opinions, beliefs, and information. It has allowed a person like myself to start up a web site, write and manage over 7,000 essays on a wide variety of topics, and receive over 12 million visitors a year. But, like every other scientific development, it has its negative side. As I see it, the main problems are that:

  • Unless people expose themselves to a broad range of beliefs on the Internet, they are liable to have their own biases strengthened.

  • There is a real problem with false and fake information and news on the Web.

I hope that these factors improve over time, or the net effect of the Internet may become negative.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael De Groote, "64% don't support gay marriage new poll says," Desert News, 2011-OCT-12, at:
  2. "Voters don't want to alter the altar," Family Research Center, 2016-NOV-11, at:
  3. "LGBT," Polling Report, Inc., 2016, at:
  4. "Same-sex marriage divides GOP supporters more than Democrats," Page 32, Pew Research Center, 2016-MAR-31, at:
  5. "Americans' support for gay marriage remains high, at 61%, Gallup, 2016-MAY-19, at:
  6. "Definition of Marriage," Family Research Council, 2015-FEB-20, at:
  7. Lisa Bourne, "61% of Americans don’t want Supreme Court to force gay ‘marriage’ on the states: poll," Life Site News, 2015-FEB-26, at:
  8. Elizabeth Ray, "New National Survey Shows Majority Support For Traditional Marriage; Reveals Voters Strongly Opposed To The Supreme Court Redefining Marriage," National Organization for Marriage, 2015-FEB-25, at:
  9. "Americans Support States’ Rights on Marriage," Wisconsin Family Action, 2015-FEB-27, at:
  10. "Redefining marriage," Point of View, 2015-MAR-12, at:
  11. "Survey: 81% for religious freedom on marriage views," Rapture Forums, 2015-FEB-27, at:
  12. Colin Hart, "The majority support real marriage," Patria, 2016-NOV-15, at:
  13. Bill Banuchi, "Don't believe everythig you read about mariage," New York Faith & Freedom Coalition, 2016, at:
  14. "Survey Finds 60 Percent of Trump Voters Were Impacted by Pro-life, Pro-Religious Liberty GOP Platform," Christian Newswire, 2016-NOV-11, at:
  15. David Cary Hart, "Hate group leader Tony Perkins still hates marriage equality," Slowly Boiled Frog, 2016-NOV-12, at:
  16. Joe Jervis, "FRC's Wingnut Polling Outfit: Majority Of Voters Oppose Same-Sex Marriage," Joe My God, 2015-FEB-25, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Site navigation: Home > "Hot" religious topics > Homosexuality > Basic data> Polls > SSM > here

Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-DEC-08
Latest update : 2016-DEC-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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