Feb 11, 2010

When and why polls mean nothing

'In Canada, 45 percent of service members said they would not work with gay colleagues, and a majority of British soldiers and sailors rejected the idea. There were warnings that hordes of military personnel would quit and promising youngsters would refuse to enlist. But when the new day arrived, it turned out to be a big, fat non-event.' — Reason
People consistently misread polls that are inexpertly worded. Clearly many servicemen answering the question "Would you work with gay colleagues?" took the question to mean "Do you think you'd be happy working with gay colleagues?" and responded accordingly. They took the opportunity to make themselves sound tougher than they are. As an actual index of their willingness to work with gay colleagues, however, it is next to worthless. It's a letting off steam question, like "Is Obama a foreign spy?"

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