YouGov has a new poll of 1000 Americans that reveals a lot about the limitations of such polling, how just a slight change in the wording of a question can dramatically change the results. The poll was about workplace discrimination against LGBT people. Here was the first question:
Would you favor or oppose a law prohibiting job discrimination by employers against gays and lesbians?
With that wording, 50% supported such a law and 38% said they didn’t (12% said they didn’t know). Then the second warning:
Do you think it should be legal or illegal for an employer to fire someone for being gay or lesbian?
That’s the same as the first question, but the results when stated this clearly were very, very different. 76% said it should be illegal to fie someone for being gay or lesbian and only 12% said it should be legal. Unfortunately, the poll also revealed huge ignorance on this question:
To the best of your knowledge, would you say it is currently legal or illegal under federal law to fire someone for being gay or lesbian?
62% thought it was illegal under federal law to discriminate against gay people, with only 14% accurately knowing that it’s not.