During the August 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, discussing the recent Democratic presidential candidates' appearance on the gay and lesbian-oriented cable channel Logo, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "a new poll" -- which he said was issued by "Pew Research or something like that" -- "says that most Americans won't vote for you if you get an endorsement by a gay rights group." In response, Fox News correspondent Kirsten Powers asserted, "I have to say I find that very difficult to believe. Maybe if they're asked that question in a poll, but most Americans don't have any idea who's endorsing candidates." O'Reilly responded: "OK, but say a gay -- the question posed, 'If a gay rights organization endorses you, would that make you more or less likely to vote?' [sic] And most Americans said less likely."
A Media Matters for America search turned up no Pew Research Center poll on the topic nor any poll asking a nationwide sample whether respondents would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by a gay rights organization. However, as the News Hounds blog noted in response to O'Reilly's claim, an August 6-8 Quinnipiac Poll of voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania found that a majority of voters in each state responded that support for a presidential candidate by "gay rights groups" "doesn't ... make a difference" in their level of support for the candidate.
From the Quinnipiac Poll:
|More likely ||10% ||10% ||11% |
|Less likely ||28 ||34 ||28 |
|Doesn't make a diff ||60 ||54 ||59 |
|DK/NA ||2 ||2 ||2 |
As Media Matters for America has documented, O'Reilly has on numerous occasions misrepresented the results of polls, often either to cast the results more negatively for Democrats or progressives or more positively for Republicans. For instance, during the July 12, 2004, edition of his radio show, O'Reilly cited a poll and said that the majority of Americans oppose gay marriage and that "Far Left" senators are thwarting the will of the people by not passing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In fact, numerous polls at the time showed that the public largely opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment.
From the August 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Now, a new poll says that most Americans won't vote for you if you get an endorsement by a gay rights group. Did you know that?
POWERS: No, I didn't --
O'REILLY: Ah! What is that poll? Pew Research or something like that. But anyway --
POWERS: I find that -- I have to say I find that very difficult to believe. Maybe if they're asked that question in a poll, but most Americans don't have any idea who's endorsing candidates. They are not paying attention to that.
O'REILLY: OK, but say a gay -- the question posed, "If a gay rights --
O'REILLY: -- organization endorses you, would that make you more or less likely to vote?
O'REILLY: And most Americans said less likely.
O'REILLY: Was that a smart move for --
POWERS: Well, I think that -- yeah.
O'REILLY: -- the Logo channel?
POWERS: The -- within the Democratic Party, this is a very important constituency. And they're certainly constituents -- they give a lot of money. They're very influential.