On March 8, I issued a news release on the findings of a new Quinnipiac survey of Catholics. In particular, I took aim at a subject that was the source of much media interest, namely the finding that Catholics support same-sex marriage by a margin of 54-38 percent.
After observing that Catholics were asked 14 questions, with responses broken down on the basis of church attendance, I took note of the one exception: the poll did not disaggregate the data on the basis of church attendance regarding same-sex marriage. Predictably, the media gave this “finding” top billing. In fact, it was the source of much conversation on radio and TV over the weekend, all of which was based on misleading data.
After our news release was distributed, reporters from CNSNews.com contacted Quinnipiac. What they admitted totally alters the outcome: 55 percent of Catholics who are regular church-goers are opposed to gay marriage, and only 38 percent favor it. This is important because Quinnipiac’s Peter A. Brown was cited all over for claiming that “Catholic voters are leading American voters toward support for same-sex marriage.” Nonsense.
Catholic News Agency spoke to Brown about this matter. He wants us to believe that “we only have so much space, and can only do so many things up front.” But they had plenty of space to record the difference between practicing Catholics and nominal Catholics on whether the next pope should come from the U.S. or not.
Adding to Quinnipiac’s problems is this: even now, after admitting that it misled the public, it still hasn’t corrected the record on its website. Its credibility as a serious survey house has thus been compromised.