Friday, November 09, 2007
The Shady HRC Commissioned Poll
One thing that my father always hammered home to me as me and my siblings were growing up (and he would know since he ran radio stations for a living) was never accept what a media outlet is telling you until you ask the how, who, what, when, where and why questions and what their motivation is for saying it.
My father's wisdom has come roaring back to me ever since I heard about the poll published in Advocate.com that stated that 70% of the GLB community favored moving ahead on a transgender-free ENDA.
Just to catch you TransGriot readers up with this, the Advocate reported on the eve of the ENDA vote the results of a poll comissioned by HRC. It seems to indicate a strong majority of gays and lesbians supported passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act even though it did not include protections for transgender people.
The stench from this poll started jumping out at me immediately. HRC commissioned it. The Mattachine gays have been getting beat up over the fact that 300 organizations are united in NOT having an ENDA proceed without transgender peeps and HRC is the lone holdout. They have had people openly question the incrementalist strategy that they wish to pursue.
Now this poll comes out less than 24 hours before debate starts on the Hill, it's immediately published and seized on by the incrementalist crowd as 'evidence' that the community wants to move forward even if it doesn't protect transgender people.
Okay, so lets take a look at the poll questions.
The poll was a random survey of 514 LGBT Americans conducted by Knowledge Networks, Inc. of Menlo Park, CA. It asked participants two questions concerning ENDA. The first asked which of the following three statements was closest to reflecting their views:
A. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organizations should oppose this proposal because it excludes transgender people.
B. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organizations should support this proposal because it helps gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers and is a step toward transgender employment rights.
C. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organizations should adopt a neutral stance for this proposal because while it helps gay, lesbians, and bisexual workers, it also excludes transgender people.
67.7 percent of the respondents chose answer B, 15.8% agreed with statement A, 12.8% agreed with statement C, and 3.6% did not answer.
But check out how this is worded. One of the things that you have to watch for and think about when you read poll results and analyze them is how the question is worded.
So let's do that.
National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organizations should support this proposal because it helps gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers and is a step toward transgender employment rights.
Note the part I have in bold print. The question worded so that you think that passing a non-inclusive ENDA is a step toward transgeder emplyoment rights.
Excuse me? The step toward transgender employment rights was leaving HR 2015, the inclusive ENDA alone and not stripping transgder people out of it in the first place.
The second question asked people the following: "This proposal would make it illegal to fire gay, lesbian, or bisexual workers because of their sexual orientation. This proposal does NOT include people who are transgender. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?"
In response, 59.1% said they favored the proposal and felt strongly about it, 15.4% said they favored it but did not feel strongly about it, 15.1% opposed it and felt strongly about it, 8.8% opposed it but did not feel strongly about it, and 1.6% did not answer.
Of the 514 people the poll surveyed, 246 respondents identified as male, 262 identified as female, five identified as female-to-male transgender, and one person identified as male-to-female transgender. The poll was conducted between October 2-5. The margin of error was +/- 4.3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
I have a lot of questions about these so-called random GLBT people they surveyed.
How would a polling company know someone was GLBT unless they had that information in advance, especially if they're doing a RANDOM sample? Where did they get a list of GLBT peeps to question? What part of the country did these 514 people reside in? Did they target the calls to areas that have strong anti-transgender sentiment? Did they call their HRC Federal Club members?
My suspicion is that they surveyed HRC Federal Club members, who are viruently anti-transgender and by doing so, would guarantee the results they wanted. HRC has already been burned on a previous poll they tried to do in North Carolina a few years ago.
In 2001 Equality NC conducted a survey partially funded by HRC that was conducted by an independent polling company. They asked over 2000 North Carolinians of all persuasions if they would prefer working with gays and lesbians, compared to Transgender people. To HRC's shock and surprise, there was an overwhelming majority voting in favor of working with Transgender people.
So since HRC has a proven history of deceptive and morally bankrupt behavior, and of burying poll results that don't come out the way they want them to, count me among the skeptics as to just how accurate this poll was.