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Gay Marriage in California – Defining “Most” -vs- “Majority”

Scott on May 29, 2008 at 8:56 am

The controversy over gay marriage continues to rage on in California.  Last week the L.A. Times published the results of a survey that showed that 54% of Californians would back an amendment to the state constitution banning same sex marriage.  However, yesterday the Field Poll released the results of their survey that says 51% of California voters are in favor of same sex marriage, with 49% opposed.

At this point I’m not so interested in the two surveys and how close the numbers are or what they might mean.  I am more interested in a report I heard on NPR (National Public Radio) yesterday.  In the news report discussing the Field Poll, the reporter stated that the Field Poll survey results demonstrate that “most Californians are in favor of same sex marriage.”  In fact, they used the term “most Californians” twice in the story.

Now maybe it is just me, but isn’t there a difference between a statistical majority (51%) and “most Californians?”  When I hear the word “most” I think of more than just 1% point over a statistical tie.  To me, “most” means that a clear majority of Californians favor gay marriage, a clear majority as in 60% and above.

Like I said, maybe it is just me, but I can’t help but feel that NPR is doing a little spinning of their own.

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