Pollster raps PM over claims public supports gay marriage
Thu, 15 Nov 2012
David Cameron misrepresented polling data to claim popular support for redefining marriage, the ComRes chief has said.
Andrew Hawkins, Chairman of the polling company, wrote to David Cameron to “put the record straight” about the number of people who are in favour of the Government’s plans to redefine marriage.
The Prime Minister had responded to a letter from MP Cheryl Gillan, in which she criticised the proposals. He said that more Tory-leaning voters were in favour of same-sex marriage than were put off by it.
But Andrew Hawkins said his polling showed that redefining marriage was unlikely to win back support from disillusioned voters.
He also said it was “simply not the case” that all the published polls show more voters are in favour of same-sex marriage, something the Prime Minister asserted as fact in his letter.
Mr Hawkins said the level of agreement that marriage should stay as it is, varies between 55% and over 70%.
He said that taking the polling as a whole, it is hard for David Cameron to ignore the fact there is less support for gay marriage than he makes out.
He said “the policy is likely to make it harder to retrieve many former Conservative supporters” and the issue is having a “detrimental effect on local Associations.”
Andrew Hawkins referred to a recent ComRes poll which showed that six out of ten Conservative Party chairmen believed the policy would lose the party more votes than it would gain.
Earlier this week, Chancellor George Osborne said that gay marriage would win the party the next election, a claim quickly refuted by the Coalition for Marriage.
C4M Director Colin Hart said: “Yet again the Government’s spin doctors are trying to claim that redefining marriage is a vote winner. Quite the opposite is true.”
More than 610,000 people have signed the Coalition for Marriage petition to keep marriage as it is.