Polls indicate that a California ballot measure to ban gay marriage will fail by a substantial margin—but that might be because respondents are lying to pollsters to avoid seeming homophobic, the Sacramento Bee reports. A recent study sponsored by supporters of the measure hints that polls do understate support for same-sex marriage bans, although one expert questions the legitimacy of its findings.
Voters “don't want to be seen by pollsters as being intolerant—so they hide their views," a pro-ban campaigner says. This phenomenon is known as the “Bradley effect” and usually invoked to account for racial disparities between polls and election results. But the expert, an NYU professor, says that, if the effect does play a role in gay-marriage polls, "it's small and certainly not getting bigger over time."