08/11/2010 05:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The New Poll on DADT is Shady and Wrong

Bigot and anti-military hack Elaine Donnelly is at it again with her Orwellian-named Center for Military Readiness. For those unfamiliar with Donnelly's "work," here is video of her getting completely owned in front of the House Armed Services Committee by Iraq War Veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA):

Yesterday, she released a shady poll that supposedly shows that Americans don't want a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Now, this poll seems shady on its face for several reasons:

  • CMR claims the poll found that respondents prefer the status quo by a margin of 48-45%. According to CMR's own press release, this means absolutely nothing, as that is within the +/-3.1% margin of error.
  • This poll is an overwhelming outlier compared with every other poll that has been taken on the subject. In February, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 57% of respondents support repeal. That same month, a CBS/New York Times poll found that 59% of respondents favored repeal. In March, a Vet Voice Foundation found that 73% of Iraq and Afghanistan combat Veterans found open gay service acceptable. Similarly, in May, a CNN poll found that 78% of respondents supported repeal.
  • The poll was conducted using a "likely voters" model, which excludes a large portion of the population. Additionally, in an off cycle election year of a President's first term, the opposite party can always expect gains. Therefore, a likely voters model in such an environment would more heavily favor Republican respondents.
  • Beyond that, I'm not sure why "likely voters" was a model chosen for a policy issue. It makes sense to use such a model for candidate preference, but not for a policy debate.
  • The polling was conducted by a firm called "The Polling Company/WomanTrend." Maybe some of you have heard of this outfit, but I never have and I spend a lot of time looking at polling data. Unless someone can present information otherwise, I don't think this firm rates as one of the more reputable polling organizations out there. Additionally, The Polling Company/WomanTrend's own website list their clients as overwhelmingly Republican and conservative groups, which would seem to indicate a Republican bias and/or "house effect."
  • CMR"s results state that the sample was conducted using "the most recent figures available from the U.S. Census Bureau, and other publicly-available sources modeling the likely voter audience." First, citing "other publicly-available sources" isn't a very transparent statement. What are those sources? And what census data are they using? If it's national census data, they are working with data that is 10 years old, since the 2010 census has not been complete yet. Also, census data under-represents the young and minorities, both groups likely to support repeal.
So, needless to say, there are a lot of problems with this poll. I've got some calls out to some experts on this stuff. I'll be more than happy to retract if these results are shown to be valid, but I think just the results of this poll compared to others is enough to cast a fair amount of doubt. Even if you disagree, CMR's own statement acknowledges that the difference is within the margin. But for Elaine Donnelly and other DADT supporting bigots, facts never get in the way of anything.