What? Protests Change Minds?

When I
wrote
earlier about participating in the “No on Prop 8” demonstration at the
National Mall, I was rather dismissive of the notion that it might
affect anyone’s opinion.

However, SurveyUSA published a
poll
about Prop 8 with an interesting result. People who voted for Prop 8
were asked “Have the protesters changed your opinion on Prop 8?”. 8%
of them said yes.

Now, 8% isn’t a huge amount, but it’s larger than I would have
expected, and this shift happened in a few weeks. So maybe my
naturally cynical gut feeling was wrong in this case. Besides, Prop 8
passed with less than a 5% margin. So if this shift had happened just
prior to the election, it could easily have decided the Prop 8
question the other way. (Assuming that minds changed only one way, of
course. The question was asked only of those who voted yes on 8, which
leaves open the possibility that a bunch of people who voted no now
regret it because of the demonstrations.)

Having said this, I don’t understand why people’s opinion would be
changed by the protests. Perhaps some who voted against it have
friends and coworkers who protested, and that sparked some
conversations. Perhaps some of those who voted yes figured it was a
minor issue of small consequence, and seeing the outrage made them
reconsider. Perhaps the result of the vote encouraged some gays to
come out of the closet, and some straights to speak out for gay
rights. Perhaps some people answered the question “Has your mind
changed since the election?” rather than the one that was asked. More
likely, it’s some combination of factors.

(HT kos.)

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3 Responses to What? Protests Change Minds?

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    Have you ever done something bad to somebody without thinking it through and then felt terrible after they called you on it? I hope that’s what this is. I think that there are a lot of people out there who honestly didn’t see what the big deal was. Maybe seeing that they traded real harm to real people for a vague feeling of warm tradition is making some people think about the consequences of their actions. One can hope, at least.

    This made me think of the controversy over showing airplanes coming in from Iraq with flag-draped caskets or graphic pictures of the collateral damage caused by bombing in urban areas. It seems profoundly hypocritical for people to support the government doing something and then being offended when they’re not shielded from images of its consequences.

    I also had to laugh at the outrage over protests outside of the Mormon temple in Oakland (a beautiful place very near me, BTW). You wanted to get into politics. Now you’re in. Congratulations. Have fun.

    Like

  2. arensb says:

    Have you ever done something bad to somebody without thinking it through and then felt terrible after they called you on it?

    Yeah, I hope that’s it, too. Maybe the protests put a face on the problem. (It seems to me that people have stronger feelings about Microsoft and Apple than, say, HP and Blizzard. I think it’s because the first two have faces (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs) and the latter don’t.)

    This made me think of the controversy over showing airplanes coming in from Iraq with flag-draped caskets

    At first, I thought the government had made the right call in that case, because people wouldn’t want to see the coffins of their loved ones stacked floor-to-ceiling in a plane’s cargo hold like so many MREs or boxes of ammunition. But then the first photos leaked out from Dover, I saw that (surprisingly) nothing of the sort was going on, and came around to your point of view.

    protests outside of the Mormon temple in Oakland (a beautiful place very near me, BTW).

    I hope the protesters pointed out the profound irony of the Mormon church arguing that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

    The Mormon temple in DC is also quite beautiful and imposing. On one section of the Beltway, there’s a good view of it over an overpass on which someone used to spraypaint “Surrender Dorothy!”. You can still read it if you know what to look for.

    Anyway, apparently some people were planning on demonstrating there, but it was called off because there was no good open place to do so.

    I have family in San Leandro. Maybe next time I’m there, you can buy me a beer.

    Like

  3. Troublesome Frog says:

    If you’re ever near the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, we can hit The Hopyard. Good times.

    Like

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