Poll on gay marriage—not on our supreme court case, but in New Zealand

Wait, it’s our Supreme Court that is considering arguments on gay marriage. I guess New Zealanders can also consider it an important issue, but why are they getting is so wrong?

Which of the following best fits your view about marriage law?

It should remain only between a man and a woman. 56%
It should be changed to allow it between same sex couples. 39%
I don’t know/I don’t care. 5%

You know, in ten years people are going to be wondering what the heck was wrong with all the people opposing civil rights.


  1. Ichthyic says

    thanks muchly.

    This is getting very weird, and a bit suspicious.

    -the current poll data for this paper shows a more than 30 point switch from the national polls just a few weeks before (national random sampling polls were showing over 60% in favor of marriage equality consistently for over a couple of years now).

    -The newspaper that conducted this poll doesn’t usually take its polls seriously, and rarely even mentions the results (just for fun), however THIS time, they’ve not only taken their own poll seriously, it’s billed as a “national shift in attitudes”, and “supports the idea there should be a referendum”. Now, the ONLY people who were calling for a referendum on this issue were the conseratives (National Party), during the last stage of the vote on this legislation. They were ignored, and nobody took the idea seriously at all, but NOW all of a sudden because of a newspaper poll, we need to rethink this? no.

    -ALL of the other major papers are in lockstep with the results coming from this poll, and none even bother to question it at all.

    -The tabulation of the data seems suspiciously familiar: every time someone votes FOR marriage equality in this poll, it appears that 2 votes immediately go into the other category!

    normally, i just laugh at this stuff, because nobody takes newspaper polls seriously, including the paper itself. But… it’s different this time. I have the sense that someone is deliberately fucking with this in order to try to play games. I suspect someone in National Party is paying to rig this, and has some media partners to manipulate. Why? maybe to call attention away from the demand for a referendum on asset sales here, maybe just because they are religious nutters and feel they aren’t getting their way on this issue (so far, parliament has been 65% or better in favor of this amendment). In any case, it’s very weird, and it’s a perfect poll to pharyngulate.

    If it’s rigged with a script, it should get even worse the more people actually vote in favor of marriage equality. It wouldn’t be the first time a poll in NZ or OZ has been rigged for political reasons.

  2. thumper1990 says


    Only one way to solve this…

    Horde unite!

    (…sorry PZ, did I do your bit? :-/)

  3. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    There are already somewhere north of 30000 votes on the poll, so it may prove unusually intransigent to normal Pharyngulation.

  4. says

    Voted, but…
    Can we get rid of that bloody chat thing?
    To click on links some (many?) of us have to turn off JavaScript, but (for OnT reasons: the NZ newspaper needing it) have to turn it on again. :-(

  5. says

    Ignore above rant (I think?!?). The evil spawn of chatting seems to have gone.
    I, of course, didn’t notice—’cause I had JS turned off.

  6. Ichthyic says

    evil chat widget does appear to be gone.

    and yes, for those noticing, it is also very unusual for one of these Herald newspaper polls to have that many votes cast.

    by an order of magnitude.

    …and all in less than 24 hours, I might add.

    fishy fishy fishy fish… I wonder where that fish did go…

  7. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Is that particular newspaper read mostly be those with a conservative bent or is New Zealand not the progressive society I thought it was?

    Or did someone else jack the poll before PZ got to it?

  8. mobius says

    The wrong side of history is still winning at this moment with 54%. Come on Pharyngulites, get with the program.

  9. enkidu says

    I agree with Ichythic, there seems to be something very strange about this poll. The Herald is the main newspaper for the Auckland region and north of the North Island in general. It is fairly conservative (aren’t they all) but would be read by everyone who reads newspapers in that area. Just a speculation, but this may be organised by the Pacifica community, which is pretty much in thrall to conservative Methodist style religion.

  10. mikee says

    I’m highly suspicious of this poll. Not so long ago polls were showing >60% in favour of gay marriage. The religious right have thrown everything they can at the law change – some of the most inane and insulting arguments. And friend and I have a running battle in the letters pages of the Christchurch Press with some of the most intellectually bankrupt and self righteous nutbars. So far have been told that same sex marriage will discriminate against heterosexuals, put children at risk because then gay and lesbian couples can adopt, that it is not right to change the definition of the word marriage (because we all know that words in the English language never change – yeah right), that marriage is a religious institution so it can be changed (called bullshit on that one), and that it will cause the breakdown of marriage and the family (but they never explain how)
    The sooner this passes into law the better. I am so tired of seeing how moronic and self absorbed some of my fellow New Zealanders can be
    Though one of the good thing to come out of this is that the youth members of EVERY political party in New Zealand announced their full support for the bill. Gives me faith in our younger generations.

  11. Michael says

    “You know, in ten years people are going to be wondering what the heck was wrong with all the people opposing civil rights.”

    I think I can give an insight. When I was a teenager, my mum asked me what the purpose of marriage was. It was a question I had never given any thought to.

    One perspective is that it is to make the father legally bound to any children that result. In the case of a gay couple adopting, they would automatically be legally bound to the child, so a marriage would be unnecessary.

    Another perspective is to be legally bound together, with all the income tax effects or other benefits that may be involved. However if common law applied to everyone that would also make an actual marriage unnecessary.

    Yet another perspective is to publicly proclaim their love for each other. In which case. why not? However to some people this simply trivializes what they look at as a serious and important (religious?) ceremony.

    I’m sure there are other perspectives as well, but for those against gay marriage, they are probably looking at it from something akin to the first perspective or trivializing their religious ceremony.

  12. =8)-DX says

    @14 Michael
    But I’d say you could only mount a first-perspective argument if you ignored lesbians (or any other non-cis-heterosexual couple with at least one uterus) and the fact that legally binding children to both homosexual parents is exactly one of the problems gay marriage helps solve.
    And the last argument is not an argument against gay marriage, but against the morality of non-religious marriage (not its legality), or the state imposing on religious marriages (which isn’t being proposed).

    The only single internally consistent and valid (if despicable) argument against gay marriage is the ick-factor. When I dismissed that myself and got rid of the dogmatic religious arguments (they aren’t arguments, they’re “just because”) I don’t think I found any other argument persuasive, or logically sound.

  13. Ichthyic says

    Not saying what you wrote above is claiming any of those arguments as valid, Michael. However, what it trivializes is what people TOLD them was “bad”. It’s nothing but authoritarianism masking as religious privilege.

    I would recommend you go back and read some of the history of the civil rights movement, and see how white privilege looks EXACTLY the same. The same words used, the same phrases, the same LACK of logic.

    They made emotional arguments, to be sure. But there was then, as there is now, absolutely nothing of substance to them.

    …and, just like when racial equality prevailed in marriage rights, and NOTHING happened to the poor privileged white folks who thought it would be the end of their precious sacred marriage, NOTHING will happen once sexual orientation is calculated into the mix as well.

    I literally have seen every single argument presented by folks objecting to an amendment granting equal marriage rights for all under NZ law, and not ONE of those arguments had any merit whatsoever. They were like the arguments a 5 year old child would make.

  14. dianne says

    The paper is now running an article about how this poll proves that New Zealanders have been convinced that gay marriage is bad and the politicians have to renounce it. There’s simply no chance that this isn’t faked. An internet poll never proves anything about a population’s beliefs-they are inherently unscientific and unrepresentative. And a newspaper reporter/editor should have enough savvy to realize that. So this must be rigged.

  15. says

    There is some major pharyngulation of this online poll from both sides – no way would a normal online poll on the NZ Herald get more than a few thousand votes, but this one is up to over 30,000 – I think there is some international conservative traffic coming on board.

    In terms of the Herald-Digipoll referenced in the report, that is a properly conducted statistical poll, and the Herald, while generally conservative by NZ standards, is not wingnutty right wing, nor has it take a strong stand on the same sex marriage debate for or against.

    That said, the NZ same-sex marriage bill has now passed its second reading, and is highly likely to become law – this poll is just an outlier, and all other polling shows the usual demographic splits – same sex marriage is strongly supported in the younger population, less so in the over 50s.

  16. fentex says

    I don’t know why people concern themselves with online polls.

    In the real world this issue is done and dusted. Marriage equality is coming to New Zealand, the bill for it before parliament will pass.

    The issue was settled years ago when we legislated civil unions. Every one knew that was just a sop to the dinosaurs on the way to marriage equality, a little padding between what could be done and enough of them passing into history.

    Well, they’re history now.

  17. cplcam says

    Well, someone has to be the asshole that’s on the wrong side of history. Sure is nice of the fundamental conservatives to volunteer time and time again. I woulda figured they’d be getting sick of it be now. Guess not…

  18. Dabu says

    A group of people realize they’re about to be culturally left behind, and the only way to express their angst is to pad out an opinion poll.

  19. Ichthyic says

    Just to be clear, it’s really not the results of the poll that are even the real issue here.

    the issue is ALL the media in NZ marching in lockstep claiming this is now evidence of a significant change overnight in Kiwi attitudes.

    That’s the real problem here, and of course, exactly the reason to game the poll in the other direction.

    You guys DID have enough of an impact to make a 6% swing since this started, and that’s enough.


  20. Michael says

    @15. =8)-DX
    In case I wasn’t clear, I am someone who changed their mind on the gay marriage issue when I examined my beliefs, and have no problem with it. I was simply trying to present the perspective that some people might have trying to justify why they are against it. My assumption regarding adopting kids is that you are their legally-bound guardian/parents whether you are a hetero couple or a gay couple. As for the ick factor, there was a male comedian a while back who joked that “I find the idea of having sex with a guy so disturbing, I don’t know how you girls do it.”. As a hetero I can relate to the joke, but I don’t have any issue with gay rights or gay marriage.

    @16 Ichthyic
    No, I don’t hold any of those arguments as valid. Merely that that is the perspective some of the people against gay marriage might have.

  21. fentex says

    ALL the media in NZ marching in lockstep claiming this is now evidence of a significant change overnight in Kiwi attitudes.

    I don’t see this, and neither does our parliament seem to which just saw many speeches on the topic yesterday.

    Plenty of our conservative politicians standing up and saying while they resist change their respect for individual liberty trumps it in this matter.

    Marriage equality will pass in NZ, Parliament is more than two thirds in support of it.